It’s never too early for Washington, D.C., politicians to dampen the holiday spirit. The House Agriculture Committee approved an amendment to its farm bill that would lift the stay blocking implementation of President Obama’s Christmas tree tax. We should be thankful the Agriculture Committee doesn’t have jurisdiction over toys.
Some in the Christmas tree industry sought to develop a promotional program to assist its industry. After three failed attempts to set up a voluntary system, they turned to the federal government to do what it couldn’t: Force Christmas tree producers and importers to pay for a Christmas tree promotion program.
On November 8, 2011, the Obama Administration issued a final rule that approved a new program to help promote Christmas trees. The government would set up a Christmas Tree Promotion Board, with one of its goals being “to enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States.” It isn’t clear why Christmas trees need help with their pristine and festive image—unless they are hiding something.
The new program would include a 15 cent “assessment” on fresh cut Christmas trees, which could eventually rise to 20 cents per tree. After significant backlash, in large part due to theefforts of The Heritage Foundation, the Obama Administration backed away from imposing this tax. On November 17, 2011, the Administration issued a stay of this tax.