2018 Election Education Montana Politics

Higher ed: let’s throw the baby out with the bathwater

Written by Pete Talbot
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An 18 percent increase in tuition is projected for the Montana University System if the ballot referendum, LR 128, fails in the November 6 election.

Also known as the 6-mill levy, it’s voted on every ten years and has been passed by the electorate each time since its inception in 1948. It’s estimated the levy would raise $20 million a year over the next decade. To say it’s sorely needed by the eight MUS institutions would be an understatement.

So, who would be opposed to supporting higher education for Montana’s kids? There’s a group called Montanans Against Higher Taxes that’s bashing the referendum on Facebook. It’s a strange site with photos of coeds, I presume, at the top of the page galavanting around in bikinis. Is it just a tease to get you to stay on the site or is there some underlying message: “these little nymphets should be studying for midterms instead of wasting their tuition partying down.”

What’s more disconcerting about the site is the comments that follow the sundry posts decrying MUS malfeasance. It’s a litany of far-right rants, most having little to do with higher education but plenty of shots at Sen. Jon Tester, unions, Democrats and liberals in general.

“Ask Mr. Tester how he stands on this since he votes as ordered by Nancy P. And she wants HIGHER TAXES”

“THERE YOU GO, THE DILDOCRATS HARD AT WORK, ONLY TO TRY AND COVER IT UP. I JUST WONDER HOW MUCH JON TESTICAL HAS TO DO WITH IT? HMMM, I JUST WONDER.”

These were directed at UM: “Shut down that liberal shithole.” and “I hope it gets closed down and the liberals leave!”

These at MSU: “Cut them off altogether this family will vote no on more tax’s.” and “Fire the MSU president. Ridiculous!”

That last line is brilliant. Fire a well-respected president who has brought stability and prestige to the institution, increased enrollment and funding. There are plenty more repugnant comments, most with horrible grammar, syntax and spelling, but you get the drift.

Indeed, there are serious questions that need addressing about foundations, grants, scholarships and MUS funding in general but to vote against this measure hurts mostly Montana students. Besides the baby/bathwater cliche, another comes to mind: cutting off your nose to spite your face.

It should be mentioned that the anti-6-mill levy treasurer and de facto organizer is Timothy Adams, a Green Party candidate for the U.S. Senate, who lost to Steve Kelly in June 5 primary. That point may be moot, though, as a district court judge has ordered the Green Party removed from the ballot after enough petition signatures were found to be invalid.

However, LR-128 has definitely qualified. Here’s some more info on it. Please vote FOR the 6-mill levy.

 

 

 

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