Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, the Obama Administration is now imposing a new tax on fresh Christmas trees.
David Addington reports:
President 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.
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).
To pay for the new Federal Christmas tree image improvement and marketing program, the Department of Agriculture imposed a 15-cent fee on all sales of fresh Christmas trees by sellers of more than 500 trees per year (7 CFR 1214.52). And, of course, the Christmas tree sellers are free to pass along the 15-cent Federal fee to consumers who buy their Christmas trees.
No, it’s not a joke. What kind of a country is this turning into? When did we need a government to tell us how to "enhance" our Christmas trees? Further, when did we need them to charge us for it?
Keep in mind, not only is a new tax on its way, but we had to pay these bureaucrats to come up with it.
Read more on Addington’s article here.
Some are responding to the media and C4P’s reporting of this negatively. Their argument is that "the industry" requested this program during the Bush administration. However, the article quotes that Obama’s administration is citing the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996 in explaining it.
Furthermore, they state that it was to promote fresh cut Christmas trees since more people are purchasing artificial ones.
First they say the cash will be used for promotion and "research."
So two flags pop up:
1.) The word "research"
2.) "the industry"
First, the cost can be passed on to the consumer. Second, who is "the industry?" Did every Christmas tree farmer from across the nation hold a summit somewhere I missed? This is a collectivist approach — the same kind which keeps failing in our country and opens up more doors for more excuses for further preposterous "tax and spend" to "fund our research" policies to come out of Washington D.C.
How about an individual’s approach? Most people I know buy artificial trees because of the pine needles. In most cases, dry Christmas trees are a major fire hazard. People are going to make the same choice regardless and this is yet another situation which government bureaucrats should not be paid our tax dollars which fund their salaries to make these kinds of decisions!
"The industry" smells to me little like pine needles and a bit more like crony capitalism, lobbyists and collectivism.