Potato Commission

Yesterday morning in the Agricultural Affairs Committee we heard from two commissions. These are trade organizations established under authority of the legislature, given the right to tax their members for the purpose of promoting their industry and the state of Idaho. Along with the authority to tax there is granted to the commission the right to inspect the accounts of members to make sure proper taxes are paid.

First we heard from the Aquaculture Commission. They represent the fish farmers of Idaho. They raise trout, sturgeon, also a few frogs for research and ornamentals for fish tanks. Idaho produces a lot of trout for fancy restaurants on both coasts. Sturgeon is a growing product both for caviar and meat. The new commission secretary described plans to promote marketing and brand recognition but there has not been widespread enrollment by industry members. Their annual budget is low five figures. It seems the fish farmers do not see the value of such a commitment.

Next we heard from the Potato Commission. They have almost 100% of potato producers enrolled. They do random audits and make sure the taxes are paid. And it seems the Potato Commission is satisfying their taxpayers. Idaho potatoes are the top brand, recognized world-wide.  We are still the #1 potato producing state.

The Potato Commission was established in 1937. The tax was initially set at 10 cents a hundred weight (cwt). Just a few years ago the producers voted to raise their taxes to 15 cents/cwt. We reviewed their audited annual statement with revenues and expenses of eight figures.

What a concept.  It is almost one you could build a country on. A group would choose to cooperate, agree to be taxed based on their production, enforce fair cooperation and be happy to do so with the faith that it would promote the general welfare.

About ddxdx

A Family physician, former county coroner and former Idaho State Senator
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One Response to Potato Commission

  1. Betty Benson says:

    Dan, I too served on the Agriculture Committee when in the Senate. The chair assigned me, the lowliest member of the committee, a bill to get rid of tattoos on chickens which had been permitted in law for a long time. It was great fun to work on that bill and it passed and became law. Now we won’t see tattoos on the bird in our pot of chicken soup.

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