Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Plight Of A Farmer

Rich people don’t usually write me letters, so you can imagine my surprise when I received a letter from Carol Leuthold yesterday. It was from a mass mailing that must have included my name and address. She wrote that she wants me to join her in voting NO on a tax increase of the rich in Oregon (yeah...right). Though I can’t get back to her today, being Sunday and all, I’ll respond to her tomorrow. What follows is our exchange of letters...
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Carol Marie Leuthold
Leuthold Dairy Farm

November 16, 2009

David Thomas McDonald
2225 N Emerson St
Portland, OR 97217-3810

Dear David,

Five generations of our family have worked at our Tillamook dairy. It's our life and our business. Milk prices are plunging and it's harder than ever to keep our business afloat. We're worried that the new, permanent tax increases legislators passed in June will hurt our farm and the families it supports. Please join me in voting NO on Measures 66 and 67, which permanently raise business and personal income taxes in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Economists estimate these tax increases will cost 70,000 Oregonians their jobs. With entire families out of work, we can't afford taxes that will cost more jobs. I can't vote to send more pink slips to Oregonians.

Legislators say their plan only taxes the rich. They're wrong. We'll all end up paying more for groceries, gas, and other services, and that will impact all Oregonians, especially the poor. Facing higher taxes, small businesses like ours would be forced to lay off workers, reduce wages and benefits, or close their doors.

Worse yet, the higher taxes would be retroactive to January 1, 2009. No money to cover this increase has been withheld from Oregonians' paychecks in all of 2009. Retroactive tax bills will hurt businesses, too.

Despite the bleak economy, Measure 67 would tax businesses up to $100,000 a year, even if they didn't make a profit. This tax increase will make Oregon's corporate minimum (the tax on the sales of businesses that don't make profits) 20 times higher than New York - the nation's highest. The personal income tax increase also adds to business taxes - 66% of Oregonians who will be impacted by the Measure 66 tax increase are small business owners that report their business income on their personal tax returns.

State government has not tightened its belt like the rest of us. We should not send more money to Salem until the state can get its spending under control. It bothers me that the $733 million in new taxes will help fund the $258 million budgeted for state employee salary increases. Instead of pinching pennies like the rest of us, legislators increased overall state spending by $4.7 billion - 9% higher than the previous budget, and raised taxes and fees by almost $2 billion.

Public employee unions say the sky will fall if the new taxes do not pass. I'm here to tell you that the sky is already falling on Oregon small businesses like mine. Even President Obama said in an NBC interview this August, "The last thing we want to do is raise taxes during the middle of a recession."

Help me send legislators a message that voters already have rejected job-killing income tax increases twice before. No means no! Please vote NO on Measures 66 and 67.

Sincerely,

Carol Marie Leuthold
Leuthold Dairy Farm - Tillamook

I worked with Oregonians Against Job-Killing Taxes to share my thoughts with you in this letter.
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November 28, 2009


Carol Marie Leuthold
2425 McCormick Loop Road
Tillamook, OR 97141

Dear Carol,

I just received your letter asking me to vote NO on Measures 66 and 67. The letter was dated 11/16/09, but it came in yesterday’s mail. This means you must have mailed it sometime after November 24th. This is very interesting to me, as on the 24th an article regarding the “myth” of job loss in our state if these Measures pass was printed in Salem-News.com, which you certainly should have read. If you didn’t read this article, I suggest that you do so now.

Your own website leads me to believe that you are in fact a well healed Oregonian who has concerns other than saving jobs. Concerns regarding how you might spend all the money you make. From your website...

“It’s been said that Tillamook is the Switzerland of the United States. Nestled at the feet of the Coast Range and known for its delicious dairy products, the comparison doesn’t make for much of a mental stretch.

If there’s one woman, however, who’s qualified to weigh in on similarities between the two locales, it’s Carol Marie Leuthold.

In addition to being a Tillamook County Creamery Association member farmer, as well as Tillamook County Farm Bureau President, Leuthold and her husband, Dan, have a serious case of the travel bug.

The couple has roamed around the world, including stops in Brazil, Italy, Germany and Alaska. They touch down in Switzerland, Dan’s familial homeland, every four years or so. This past year, the couple rendezvoused there after taking the first separate vacations in their 45-year marriage.

Dan went on safari in South Africa while Carol Marie flew to the South of France and Italy to take cooking classes.”

You should know that we common folks have concerns other than fattening your purse. Concerns such as education for our children, healthcare and housing for our elderly and disabled, and police protection for all Oregonians.

Perhaps you’d be better served by writing a letter to Santa Clause, asking him to keep you rich for another year, and let those of us who actually care about our neighbors move our state forward. May you get exactly what you deserve this Christmas.

Sincerely,

David McDonald
DAWG (Disability Activists Work Group) Oregon

20 comments:

Alan Cordle said...

Thank you for the background info on this wealthy farmer. I arrived at your site when I googled her name because I received the same letter.

Jerry said...

Outraged by Leuthold's contribution to the anti-Measure 67 misinformation campaign, I sent the following letter to the Tillamook Creamery Association:

I am writing to protest the political activity of one of the Creamery Association's members, Carol Marie Leuthold. I have just received a mass-mailed letter urging us to oppose Measure 67, citing false and distorted information and serving an obviously partisan political agenda.

But I am not writing to debate or refute the letter, rather to protest it and its association with the Tillamook brand. As a lifelong Oregonian whose wife grew up in Tillamook and whose uncle was once the principal of Tillamook High School, For more than fifty years I have had a loyalty to the Tillamook brand at the dairy case, choosing it whenever there was a choice. Now, however, I will avoid the brand as a funder of a defective ethic I utterly despise. I realize that her dairy represents only a small contribution to the Tillamook product. Still, she has chosen to use the brand to further her political interests, or worse, she has been co-opted by others' political interests. Whatever the case, she has tainted the Tillamook product as surely as a bacterial contamination, and I will avoid it the same way. And I will urge my family and friends to do likewise.

This makes me sad and angry at the same time, sad to discontinue consuming a brand of native products I was fond of, and angry that this ignorant or corrupt business person makes it necessary.

Yours truly,

Gerald Greenfield
Wilsonville, OR 97070

Nancy said...

Good response. I'm joining you in sending her a letter with the actual estimates on who will pay what. Thanks for researching.

David McDonald said...

I'm thinking that perhaps we should put up a page on Facebook where folks could comment on Carol's letter. Anybody with me on this?

Suzanne said...

How about asking The Oregonian (and if they won't Willamette Week) to run an expose on her? Here's a good summary of the facts: http://www.rop.org/files/Measure%2067%20Flow%20Chart%20from%20OCPP.pdf

Anonymous said...

Carol Marie Leuthold
3421 Del Webb Ave NE
Salem, Or 97303

Carol,

I received your letter dated November 16th, 2009 regarding your campaign against Measures 66 and 67.

As a state employee, I take issue with your lack of knowledge of the facts. State government has indeed tightened our belt. Perhaps you have heard on the news or read in the newspapers or online about the state mandated furlough days for state employees. These are days when all state employees are forced to stay home and take UNPAID LEAVE to help the state get through the budget crisis. Perhaps your numbers are in error, because I know for a fact that my agency, the Oregon Department of Corrections, has had to reduce our spending and our budget by almost a BILLION dollars. If that isn’t tightening our belt, I don’t know what is. I took the opportunity to find your dairy online and was amazed to find out that you make enough money to travel the world. Most state employees don’t make that kind of money and I personally do not make that kind of money where I can travel the world. YOU don’t appear to be suffering much from the down economy!

Your letter also has the ring of cynicism in that you, like so many others, forget that state employees are just as much tax payers as you are. Everyone seems to forget that little nugget of information when they lambast us like you did. Not only am I a state employee but I was a small business owner myself whose business failed in this down economy. In fact I was forced to close the business due to the economy. So before you label state employees the ‘bad people’ you should probably do a little research.

Since you have a large mailing list, I would ask that you retract your statement about how bad state government is and apologize to the state employees you have insulted in your mailing. Your letter, while attempting to sway me to vote against these measures has had quite the opposite effect and I will most likely vote FOR these measures due to your crass opinion of your states employees.

Sincerely,

Mike Beagen
State Employee

Anonymous said...

I am concerned with the comments that were generated by David McDonald’s comments.
My family enjoys Tillamook cheese, as we think it is the best.
We live in a depressed area of Oregon. Yet, there are people here who have the money to do much of the same traveling that Carol and Dan enjoy. The issue here is that the government keeps taking more of the people’s money than they can wisely use. The government acts as though the people are using its hard earned money. The money was taken by force from the hard working citizens. It is then used anyway the lords in government choose even when it is not in the taxpayer’s best interest.
This is not about whether someone has money to blow, but about whether the government has the right to keep taking it.
Robyn

Jack said...

I received a letter from Carol. If she is worried about her finances she shouldn't have wasted that postage mailing me. If this is from Carol a Tillamook County Dairy Farmer why is the return address with her letter?

3421 Del Webb Ave NE, Salem, OR 97301
Bedmart North Salem - (503) 391-1575

Kathleen said...

I received my letter today and wrote an angry response within 10 minutes. I will not be buying any more Tillamook Creamery products (after many years as a loyal customer of an Oregon business) if they in any way condoned or permitted use of their associationin this despicable campaign.

John in Tigard said...

Dave I got the Carol Marie Leuthold form letter and I am now searching for links that will help me express my appreciation. I found the Tillamook fan club, and left my sentiments there. You know if all of us stop buying Tillamook we can help reduce Carol's tax burden quite considerably.

http://www.tillamookfanclub.com/contactus.cfm

"Please inform Carol that because of her greed and indifference to anything but her own bottom line I will be avoiding all Tillamook products for good. I will tell everyone that I know not to buy Tillamook products ever again. Please stop sending out rich welfare letters, they are disgusting, deceptive and bare no resemblance to the truth. Thank you."

David McDonald said...

Well Robyn, whether or not you and your family thinks Tillamook cheese is the best, what's at stake here are programs set up to protect the general public.
For far too long the wealthy have been driving the bus here in Oregon. I, and apparently MANY others, believe it's time for that trend to end.

David McDonald said...

Hey Mike... the address you are using is where the letter was sent from... probably an office of some type. Carol's address is on the blog post.

Randy in Creswell said...

Mike Beagan,
Here are the real State Employee Facts.Could'nt make it in the real world, now your living in fantasy world working for the State, which is going to change in the near future. Read and Learn.
Oregon public employees are being paid more to work fewer hours according to calculations by the Oregon Department of Administrative Services.

Oregon has tens of thousands of state employees. Over the past several months, the news media has stated that these “dedicated” Oregon public servants are experiencing budgetary cuts that will result in lower pay and reduced hours. They suggest that the budgetary cuts must in turn reduce services to the public. As a member of both the Ways and Means Committee and the Emergency Board, I have first hand information regarding the cost of employee salaries and benefits. That knowledge leads me to question the accuracy of some of the news releases.

For that reason, I requested the Senate Republican staff to ask the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) to determine and compare the average compensation paid to state employees, as well as the average time off from work, between 2008 and 2009. The short answer from DAS is that the average Oregon state employee received both an $897 increase in compensation and several more days off in 2009 than they did in 2008.

According to the DAS figures, in 2008 the average state employee was paid $47,724 in salary and $20,407 in benefits for a total compensation of $68,131. In 2009 the average state employee will be paid $48,459 in salary and $20,569 in benefits for a total of $69,028. The $897 increase in average compensation is after an average of $2,682 was subtracted for mandatory time off without pay called furlough days.

The bottom line is that the Oregon taxpayer will pay more for receiving less service because the average Oregon state employee will earn more for working several days less in 2009 than they did in 2008.
Randy Yates
Creswell, Oregon

David McDonald said...

Randy... I'm sensing some REAL "sour grapes" on your part here. Because the State takes care of its' employees (as it should) you, along with your Republican pals, want to take cheap shots at those who get what we all deserve. As for your other 2 lengthy comments... start your own blog.

Suzanne said...

This is the reply to my message telling TCCA why I'm boycotting Tillamook products:


Dear Suzanne,


Thank you for sharing your comments regarding the letter you received from Carol Marie Leuthold. While Carol Marie and her family are one of the more than 110 dairy farm families who are members of the Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA), producers of Tillamook dairy products, her letter was not sent on behalf of TCCA or our other dairy farm families.



The letter you received from Carol Marie reflects her personal views on Measures 66 and 67. There is no clear consensus among our member dairy farmers regarding these measures. Consequently, TCCA has not taken a position on Measures 66 and 67.



For the past 100 years, we have been committed to providing consumers with the best tasting, highest quality Tillamook dairy products, and this remains our mission today.



Sincerely,



Heidi Luquette

Corporate Communications Manager

Tillamook County Creamery Association

www.TillamookCheese.com

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This week many of us have heard that once again Oregon Project Independence is on the line, and you can read the mean-spirited response to proposed cuts from Pat Mc Cormick here:

http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20091201/LEGISLATURE/912010316/Lawmakers-release-spending-cut-options

Peace,

Suzanne

Suzanne said...

PS The people working hard to avoid paying their fair share in taxes are well organized and well funded. Can we use this blog to communicate about efforts we can support to get the facts out?

(BTW, I am not a state employee, but a citizen deeply concerned about potential reduction in vital services to our seniors and people with disabilities.)

Daniel Latham said...

Here is my response to Carol Leuthold:

Carol Marie Leuthold
Leuthold’s Wilsona Dairy
2425 McCormick Loop Road
Tillamook, OR 97141

Dear Carol,
Pardon the late reply to your letter dated November 16. You did not include a return address, so I had to do some research.

By the tone of your letter: “small businesses like mine,” and “it’s harder than ever to keep our business afloat,” I expected you were out at five a.m. in your galoshes to milk ol’Bessie. I was relieved to find pictures in your profile of your trips to Europe and Asia. One can only imagine the hijinks you get up to when milk prices are up.

Your letter stated that economists estimate the tax increases of Measures 66 & 67 will cost 70,000 Oregonians their jobs. You did not include the names or credentials of any of these economists, so it is a difficult argument to refute. I wonder if any of your economists warned you about the plunging milk prices of which you complained? Are these the same economists who stated in the Wall Street Journal, Augst 11, that the recession is over?

Curiously, you stated that state government has not tightened its belt. Perhaps you were travelling through Europe when Oregon furloughed state employees without pay, or school districts cut teacher positions and shortened the school year.
State employee salary increases were a cause of concern to you. While jetting over the Pacific on the way to Hawaii, it is difficult to imagine why a police officer or prison guard on the ground should receive a yearly cost of living increase.

Since you plan to pass the cost of taxes on to the consumer anyway, you will be relieved to know that I will willingly bear the burden. I am more concerned that my money goes to Oregon schools than to french culinary academies. I am more concerned that Oregon parks and recreational opportunities remain available than the Swiss Alps.

In these tenuous economic times, I prefer to spend my limited disposable income in a manner that benefits my neighbors, my state, and my nation as a whole. I guess we just express our patriotism differently.
Sincerely,

Daniel Latham

David McDonald said...

Suzanne... feel free to use this blog for your efforts. We are definitely on the same page.

Daniel... I love what you wrote!

David McDonald said...

I work with people who have developmental disabilities, and are attempting to become more a part of their community. Yesterday, one of the folks I work with received "the letter" and I got to explain what's REALLY going on with the anti- service people. It felt very good...

Suzanne said...

Some ways to start that I've found... Pass it on, folks!

Together, we can promote tax fairness and support vital programs. Here’s a couple of simple ways to do it:

Sunday Dec 13th | 5:30 – 8:30 pm
Dinner and phonebank for tax fairness
6401 SE Foster Rd. Portland, OR 97206
Come have dinner with activists in community human services and educate voters about the tax fairness special election.


Saturday Dec 19th | 1 – 4:30 pm
Screening of subCITY video, discussion, and phone bank
6401 SE Foster Rd. Portland, OR 97206
“The producers of subCITY have delivered a powerful, insightful and factual portrayal of the condition of mental health in Oregon. It’s a reminder why we cannot repeat the past decades of disinvestment and why we must assure that all who need mental heath care get it.”
—Dr. Bruce Goldburg Oregon Dept. of Human Services.

This event is co-sponsored by Oregon Action, Partnership for Safety and Justice, Portland State AAUP

For more information call 503.772.5846
http://www.EmpowerOregon.org/