A bill to increase the amount of the Washington State Beef Checkoff assessment for cattle producers has undergone several revisions this legislative session, but the most significant recent change is to charge the buyer of the cattle the assessment instead of the seller. At present, the seller (usually the cow-calf producer) pays the current fee of $1.50 per head tax–an amount that makes up both the national .50 cent Beef Checkoff assessment and the $1.00 that goes to the Washington State Beef Commission.
Senate Bill 5793 (SB 5793) sponsored by Sen. Judy Warnick, would change who pays the assessment from the seller to the buyer. The new bill language would levy a total assessment of $2.00 on all cattle sold in the state to be paid by the purchaser at the time of sale. The bill does include an exemption for dairy calves enrolled in the “green tag” program. A “sale” in the bill would include the transfer of cattle owned by a meat packer from a feed lot to the slaughterhouse.
According to CPoW lobbyist Jim Potts, the bill is currently setting in the Senate Rules committee and may be pulled to the floor anytime during the current special session.