Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Christmas Tree Tax!

President Obama's Department of Agriculture announced yesterday that it will impose a 15-cent charge on all fresh Christmas tree sold.

This charge will used to fund a new federal program that is responsible for improving the image and marketing of Christmas trees.

In 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).

This mandatory charge is imposed on organizations which sell more than 500 Christmas trees per year. Also, the new law allows the sellers to pass the cost on to the consumer.

The administration cites the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996 as the law that allows for this mandatory fee.

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