Skip to content
Log In | Sign Up Connect

What’s your story?

Share and find customer experiences

Connect with the people behind them

Wacktrap is
feedback made social

Post Your Wack Now

Trending Content


New Tax or Fee Hits Fresh Fir Trees with Bizarre Christmas Tree Promotion Board

| Share

by editor

editor's picture
In The News

It's one of the most bizarre and illogical new taxes or fees Americans are unaware of--despite the fact consumers may see it passed on by holiday tree retailers in one form or another: The Agriculture Department's announced a 15-cent charge on all fresh Christmas trees, to start this holiday season. There's a new board in town--The Christmas Tree Promotion Board. You need it, America.
Thrown into temporary delay as of November 9 -- after the government's November 8 announcement that's sparked a storm of controversy -- it's unclear whether the tax will actually be delayed until after the December 2011 Christmas season. Perhaps the White House was hoping to move that heat someplace else, until the nation at least made it through the Thanksgiving holiday.
Don't be surprised if that bargain Home Depot price for a freshly-cut, live tree suddenly becomes $40.14 this holiday season. "Producers or importers" of fresh trees are being hit with a new fee by the federal government. Strangely that increased cost to the group creating or bringing in live trees to the nation is supposed to battle sales of fake trees. It always helps to additionally charge industry providers, when quelling a competitve market is kind of dependent on those same sales you're now charging them extra to complete. But apparently it's all in the name of good. Christmas, as we know it, could depend on it.
The government claims the new charge associated with fresh trees is not a tax -- because it's not kicking back cash or "revenue" to the federal government. But that revenue's obviously going somewhere. That seems to be the sweet, little split in definition. Those funds will finance a new (and apparently crucial) board America desperately needs. The government claims the fee isn't really taxation because it's not laying claim to the actual cash--just using it to support an unusual and seemingly-unnecessary Board that's been created during one of the worst economic downturns of all time, otherwise known as a recession. We must monitor and take care of Christmas tree promotion. And somebody needs to be up to the task.
There's no choice in the new charge for Christmas tree importers or producers who specialize in those holiday firs. This is serious stuff. The November 8 announcement says a 15-cent per tree tax -- or fee, depending on how you'd like to interpret the push or shove -- is to be paid per tree. That part's not a choice unless a retailer happens to make a cutoff of less than 500 trees sold. Then the store's legally allowed to skip out on the roughly $75 bucks owed to the government.
The supposed reason for the new Christmas tree "tax" or "fee" is prime: The Federal government is going to use that 15-cent charge per tree in order to pay for a program -- one directed by a department that's actually within its administration -- for a program dedicated to improvement. That's right: to improve the marketing of nothing less than Christmas trees.
That seventy-five bucks per seller in revenue from the Christmas Tree "tax" is slated for financially helping support a new Federal program you may never heard of -- yes, while the government's battling over budget and the economy's in the throes of financial crisis, it wants to improve the image of the Christmas Tree.
The Secretary of Agriculture is in charge of appointing a Christmas Tree Promotion Board that's responsible for the incredibly important task of starting a “program of promotion, research, evaluation, and information designed to strengthen the Christmas tree industry’s position in the marketplace; maintain and expand existing markets for Christmas trees; and to carry out programs, plans, and projects designed to provide maximum benefits to the Christmas tree industry.” That'd be 7 CFR 1214.46(n).
7 CFR 1214.10 includes the related and obviously equally crucial efforts to "enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States," because those damn Americans must not be doing a good enough job of that promotion on their own.
Of course it's legal. Most things the government does are -- since virtually no one has better attorneys. An indicator of necessity however, aside from the obvious, tends to be best reflected by cited sources as to why the change is legal. In this case it's the lesser-known (but certainly not unimportant) "Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996". Yes. Enough said.
Rest easy, America. The government is ensuring due diligence and providing peace of mind over the peaceful holiday season. It's making sure your holiday decor is researched, evaluated -- and that the legend is sure not to disappear over lack of interest, or lack of expansion. It claims a dedication to "expand existing markets" for those holiday trees -- but that slot's kind of filled. You could just find yourself facing new markets after the Christmas Tree Promotion Board figures that one out. Now a "Hanukkah Bush" could become a very real thing. Or how about a "Freedom Fir" to celebrate that Fourth of July? The options are limitless.
If you thought carving pumpkins with designs of turkeys, to celebrate Thanksgiving, was a bit unusual then just wait til you've got a fresh tree to celebrate that holiday of thanks. That's right -- now it won't be a matter of anyone griping about how soon those Christmas decorations seem to follow Thanksgiving: America can celebrate the holidays in a strikingly similar way -- with a tree. And that can help the economy expand in even more ways, creating the possibility to "maintain and expand" even more markets -- like one dedicated to Thanksgiving ornaments.
Of course the nation will need a Thanksgiving Ornament Promotion Board for that.

| Share
Average: 5 (1 vote)