WASHINGTON (Oct. 28, 2003) — A federal appeals court in Cincinnati has affirmed a lower court's ruling that the pork industry's “checkoff” program—in which it assesses pork producers 45 cents of every $100 in sales to fund a nationwide marketing campaign—is unconstitutional.
This ruling has created some concern within the tire industry that a similar checkoff for tire industry publicity, research, education and training could also be rejected by the courts if created. “One of the key things is that a checkoff program is constitutionally problematic unless there's an opt-out provision,” said Donald B. Shea, president of the Rubber Manufacturers Association.
Roy E. Littlefield III, executive vice president of the Tire Industry Association, said the decision “should re-emphasize the need to develop a checkoff program based more on education, research and training than publicity.” The court ruling, Mr. Littlefield said, “gives us good guidelines for what to avoid. We want to make sure this doesn't happen to us.”