Christmas Tree Tax/Fee Sprung By Obama’s Ag Secretary
Easter Lily Tax Next?
By Dell Hill
Obama’s Agriculture Department today announced that it will impose a
new 15-cent charge on all fresh Christmas trees — the Christmas Tree Tax
— to support a new Federal program to improve the image and marketing
of Christmas trees.
the Federal Register of November 8, 2011, Acting Administrator of
Agricultural Marketing David R. Shipman announced that the Secretary of
Agriculture will appoint a Christmas Tree Promotion Board. The purpose
of the Board is to run a “program of promotion, research, evaluation,
and information designed to strengthen the Christmas tree industry’s
position in the marketplace; maintain and expend existing markets for
Christmas trees; and to carry out programs, plans, and projects designed
to provide maximum benefits to the Christmas tree industry” (7 CFR
1214.46(n)). And the program of “information” is to include efforts to
“enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in
the United States” (7 CFR 1214.10).
fee is 15 cents on all fresh trees for growers who sell more than 500
trees a year, a cost that will no doubt be passed along to consumers.”
remember, Congress did NOT pass this tax/fee....Your President’s
administration did so by and through his Agriculture Secretary.
UPDATE: I spoke with a local Christmas tree grower (there are many here in Vermont) and he put this fifteen cent - seemingly insignificant amount - tax into proper perspective.
"I sell over 2,000 Christmas trees each year and this tax is on me to pay," he said. "I sell freshly cut trees from my own property and it will be up to me to pay the federal government over $300 more in taxes. I can't justify charging more...the economy is terrible and people just can't afford it. I'm already hearing customers inquiring about prices and opting for smaller, lower priced trees this year, so I can't be jacking prices up. If I do, I'll lose money. I'm also thinking that once they get their foot in the door with this new tax, they'll double it next year," he said.
His final thought?
"This is hard work and it's more of a family hobby than a big profit making business. I guess it's time we have a family meeting and decide whether we want to continue in this business or shut it down."