The Des Moines Register recently reported that all Iowa cattle producers will soon be forced to pay $0.50 per head into a “checkoff program. The funds will be used for beef promotion, research and other activities. 56% of the cattle producers voted for the “checkoff” program – forcing the other 44% to contribute to the scheme. In any other setting, it would be called a tax.
There are many checkoff programs for a wide variety of commodities, both nationally and in various states. They all work the same way. If a majority of the producers want to tax themselves to promote their commodity, then they get to force all producers to pay into the program.
There is not the kind of activity that should be ruled by a majority. I understand that if the programs were voluntary, which they originally were, that those who did not pay would get a “free ride” – they would get the benefits without paying for any of the costs. That is not a sufficient reason to use the force of government. There are an unlimited number of things that a majority of businesses might like to do, if they could force all competitors to help pay.
Both federal and state governments need to repeal the laws which allow checkoff programs to exist.
Link to Register article: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/money/2016/12/08/iowa-beef-checkoff-passes-with-56-percent-approval/95138020/