A letter to Oklahoma Extension Services: Please safeguard our children

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(sent via email)

Subject: Regarding our Oklahoma farm and ranch kids and the checkoff tax referendum

Dear Extension Services,

I am former Oklahoma State Senator Paul Muegge, an Oklahoma farmer and board member of the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM). I am writing to ask that you assist in ensuring that our Oklahoma farm and ranch kids not be wrongfully used in the cattle industry’s attempt to extract an additional $3,000,000 of taxes from Oklahoma cattle producers.

Starting today, Oklahoma cattle producers will begin voting on a beef checkoff tax referendum. This referendum would double the per head beef checkoff tax in Oklahoma. Unlike similar elections in other states, the Oklahoma tax referendum allows our children to vote. In that the voting is occurring through the Extension offices on November 1st, it can be seen as an endorsement of the tax increase by Extension and could inadvertently encourage our 4-H programs to push the kids to vote yes. While I am not suggesting this would be intentional, it could still inadvertently occur.

Pictured: Screen shot from the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff increase campaign webpage

Therefore, I am writing to encourage you to put parental safeguards in place to ensure parents are informed of this election and to seek their permission before any child would be asked to cast a ballot that would place this burden on the backs of Oklahoma farmers and ranchers.

If such safeguards already exist, can you please forward them to me? If they do not, please let me know if you will consider putting them in place. I think it is important to note, this vote is occurring at a time when Oklahoma farmers and ranchers have recently been informed that the current checkoff tax fund had nearly $2,600,000 stolen from it.

Pictured: Young children’s signatures on the referendum petition

Many farmers and ranchers strongly believe that before we give more money to those that administer these tax dollars, the current funds should be subjected to a full audit of the past 10 years’ expenditures and those audits should be released to the public. Detailed expenditures of the tax funds should be readily available to those of us who are paying the tax and we should be assured that no tax money is going to support the work of beef industry special interest lobbyists.

I thank you for your consideration and look forward to your thoughts and ideas for safeguarding our children.

Sincerely,

Paul Muegge
Tonkawa, Oklahoma

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