Taxing Popcorn For Promotion

By Eric Scheiner | December 2, 2011 | 2:01pm EST

A few weeks ago social media pages were full of posts about a potential tax on Christmas trees in order to help promote them and improve their image.

After the internet heat was in full flame about the issue the Obama administration decided to postpone and reexamine the measure - but, why are lawmakers getting involved in putting a tax on items to fund their promotion in the first place?

The answer is the Commodity, Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996. This allows the government to work with industry groups to levy a tax on their items with the funds designated for promotion and marketing. According to the USDA Agricultural Marketing website, “Through these self-help programs, commodity groups are able to establish their own board of industry representatives who conduct promotion, market research, production research and new product development for the benefit of their industries.”

Industries that participate include the Popcorn, Mango, Hass Avacado and Honey Packer/Importers to name a few.

Couldn't these industries pool their resources together and do research and marketing on their own?

It stands to reason that if tax payers on the internet and talk radio could generate enough negative publicity on a 15-cent tax on Christmas tree sales to make the Obama administration postpone the program, then these industries could probably utilize the internet to get their own publicity done.

Perhaps a social media move to promote the repeal of the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act needs to get underway. At no extra charge.

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