Oklahoma winery responds to being in Coburn's Wastebook

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 12/19/2013 6:28 pm Published: 12/19/2013 4:19 pm

An Oklahoma winery was targeted in Sen. Tom Coburn's annual Wastebook.

A $200,000 grant from the USDA for the Whispering Meadows Winery in McAlester was one of 100 items totaling $30 billion that Coburn called wasteful spending.

Six tanks hold the real value of the federal grant: more wine. In fact, the ability to double wine production is why Karen Stobaugh put in $100,000 of her own money to match the $100,000 of tax money.

"I don't see what part of it could be wasteful," said Stobaugh.

She said she was awarded the grant because her business does exactly what the USDA wanted the grant to do: increase agriculture in Oklahoma.

"Actually, to be able to purchase more fruit, to be able to harvest more fruit, and to have more room to be able to actually process that fruit and turn it into wine," she said.

The matching grant allowed her to buy the tanks, and new processing and bottling equipment.

"These tanks and this equipment will definitely bring us to the next level," she said.

In fact, she went from producing less than 5,000 gallons a year to almost 10,000 gallons a year.

"It's really good for our state," she said.

Because the grant allowed Stobaugh to increase production by so much, she was also able to add on 10 new employees.

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Mayor Maynot - 12/20/2013 8:14 PM
0 Votes
Cowbot #8 ^]] A pretax (that's imaginary jargon) post tax anything that's better than no tax. Business loan yea an economically deficient individual like you may need a government loan to open a cool aid stand.

Mayor Maynot - 12/20/2013 5:44 PM
0 Votes
Cowbot #8 ^]] Please just be happy to be a good ole average Joe.

Mayor Maynot - 12/20/2013 3:35 PM
0 Votes
Cowbot #8 ^]] The government is gambling your money at the winery and winning. Do you have a hundred thousand to bet gamble. What do you suggest just sit there till the money runs out. Looks like the govt just made a deal that is better than any that you could ever offer so now you are saying they are mishandling your money by making it grow. By gum after all this I might just buy a bottle to look at.

Mayor Maynot - 12/20/2013 3:27 PM
0 Votes
Cowbot #8 ^]] so you are saying that the government in this case does not have a snowballs chance in the oven of turning a handsome profit for the government?? I bet they'll double their profit in DUI of offenders on wine over the next five years. It can't be immoral. Jesus turned the water into wine.

CowBot9000 - 12/20/2013 1:49 PM
0 Votes
Again... I agree it was profitable. Let me approach it from a different angle. A government grant to a winery is like a "pre-tax", if you will, on people who may or may not buy the product produced by means of the grant. This already bloated government should not be in the business of making money by whatever means necessary- especially when you and I both know the taxes we personally pay are not going to be discounted because of it. More tax revenue for more grants for more tax revenue for more grants- all the while increasing all the other taxes too. And on top of that- continually introducing more and more regulations and taxes on businesses that limit their ability to do business. No wonder some of them are tempted to take grants! It's in the design. And these multimillionaires who sit in the House & Senate (most of whom have never had real jobs, Coburn is/was a practicing doctor) laugh all the way to the bank. How much is enough for this bloated, out-of-control machine and its administrative aristocracy?

Mayor Maynot - 12/20/2013 1:13 PM
0 Votes
Cowbot #8 ^]] however you fail to see that the government is getting a good deal by riding along with the winery and making profits with her is beyond me. Let's see you fish out $100.000.00 from the hard work that you have done.

Mayor Maynot - 12/20/2013 1:03 PM
0 Votes
Cowbot?.? You don't really seem to be getting the picture here. Do an estimate of the TAX revenue combined with creating more jobs (more tax generation) it's pretty clear to see that the government has invested a generous windfall profit in future returns. Even if YOU don't buy any of it the govt will still clearly benefit from the investment that they made with every sale of a bottle of that wine. Geeeez why is it so hard for you to understand that one simple factor. Then you call the business cheap. Do YoU hAvE $100.000.00 to invest with the government on a scheme to create more jobs and taxes? What you're peddlin is vintage whine.

CowBot9000 - 12/20/2013 11:35 AM
0 Votes
I agree that it was profitable. It then follows to reason that they could have & should have footed that bill themselves. If they didn't want to pinch pennies & save, they should've done what everyone else does; take out a business loan.

Mayor Maynot - 12/20/2013 7:59 AM
0 Votes
Cowbot :-/ She invested $100,000.00 along with the govt grant. It was a wise choice for the govt to match her when you consider the tax revenue that the wine will generate with each sale. That is not only this year but next year and next year and next year and next year........

CowBot9000 - 12/20/2013 6:53 AM
0 Votes
Whatever happened to businesses reinvesting their profits. If you want to grow your business, put off that luxury vacation & Lexus. Put that money toward tooling. Taking government grant money to grow your business is for cheapskates.
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