MEA-MFT Call to Action for school funding

Grazing fees, school funding, & you

PLEASE TAKE ACTION!

Support raising the grazing fee on Montana's state lands to generate desperately needed funds for public schools. E-mail your comments by 5:00 p.m., September 30, 2011 to: grazingfee@mt.gov

 

Talking points:

♦ I (we) strongly support the proposed increase in grazing fees on Montana’s State Trust Lands.

 

♦ The State Land Board has a legal responsibility to get the best income possible from Montana’s state-owned lands for our schoolchildren and other citizens.

 

♦ Montana’s schools are struggling with inadequate funding. This is the right time to increase grazing fees.

 

Send your remarks to: Kevin Chappell, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, PO Box 201601, Helena, MT 59620; or fax Kevin at (406) 444-2684; or e-mail grazingfee@mt.gov.

 6-6-11

Sept. 6 - A minute of your time can help generate $5.2 million for Montana’s public schools and higher education. 

 

Please read on, then take action by Sept. 30!

 

Background: Montana’s State Trust Lands were established in 1889(1) to generate funding for public schools. These lands are managed by the Montana State Land Board, which has the responsibility to secure the best possible income from state lands on behalf of Montana’s schoolchildren and other citizens.

 

Grazing fees: One way state lands produce income is through grazing fees. Ranchers who graze stock on state-owned lands pay a fee that goes into the state’s school trust.

 

But a recent study (2) shows the state is charging far less for grazing than private landowners. The state could double its current grazing fee and still be charging only about 70% of the market rate. This would still be a good deal for ranchers, and it would raise about $5.2 million for the school trust.

 

Billionaire Koch brothers say no: On July 18, 2011, the State Land Board approved a draft proposal raising grazing fees. Some oppose the increase – including the Matador Cattle Company, owned by the Kansas-based Koch Industries.  (Yes, THOSE Koch brothers – the ones spending millions to destroy public employee unions and public schools. They’re among the largest private landowners in Montana.)

 

The State Land Board is taking public comments on the proposed grazing fee increase. They need to hear from you! Please take action:

 

Send your comments in support of the proposed fee increase to grazingfee@mt.gov.

 

Deadline: 5:00 p.m., September 30, 2011.

 

Suggested talking points:

 

“I (we) strongly support the proposed increase in grazing fees on Montana’s State Trust Lands. The State Land Board has a legal responsibility to get the best income possible from Montana’s state-owned lands for our schoolchildren and other citizens. Montana’s schools are struggling with inadequate funding. This is the right time to increase grazing fees.”

 

Send your remarks to: Kevin Chappell, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, PO Box 201601, Helena, MT 59620; or fax Kevin at (406) 444-2684; or e-mail grazingfee@mt.gov.

 

Footnotes
(1) Through the Enabling Act of 1889, the U.S. Congress gave the State of Montana two sections of land from every township for common school support. This act, along with others, also granted acreage for other education and state institutions.

 

(2) The Montana Land Trust Grazing Lease Rate Valuation Analysis, a study completed in April 2011 by Bioeconomics, Inc. and presented to the State Land Board at its July 2011 meeting.

 

Montana Land Board Members:
Governor Brian Schweitzer
Attorney General Steve Bullock
Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau
State Auditor Monica Lindeen 
Secretary of State Linda McCulloch

 

 

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