A new federal tax imposed by the Department of Agriculture (how do they do that? Only Congress can tax) will “improve the image” of live Christmas trees. I didn’t know Christmas trees had an image problem. Bet you didn’t either. The tax will pay for a “Christmas Tree Promotion Board.” This is incredible:
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).
The Heritage Foundation echoes: it’s a tax. Whatever the administration calls it, it’s a tax. Christmas tree sellers who sell more than 500 trees annually must pay it to the Federal Government – it’s not voluntary.
Acting Administrator Shipman had the temerity to say the 15-cent mandatory Christmas tree fee “is not a tax nor does it yield revenue for the Federal government” (76 CFR 69102). The Federal government mandates that the Christmas tree sellers pay the 15-cents per tree, whether they want to or not. The Federal government directs that the revenue generated by the 15-cent fee goes to the Board appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to carry out the Christmas tree program established by the Secretary of Agriculture. Mr. President, that’s a new 15-cent tax to pay for a Federal program to improve the image and marketing of Christmas trees.
Nobody is saying President Obama doesn’t have authority to impose his new Christmas Tree Tax — his Administration cites the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996. Just because the Obama Administration has the legal power to impose its Christmas Tree Tax doesn’t mean it should do so.
The economy is barely growing and nine percent of the American people have no jobs. Is a new tax on Christmas trees the best President Obama can do?
I see the words “research,” and “evaluation” in the Department of Agriculture’s announcement. These days I’m skeptical enough to think that under the law, by the time the “research” and the ‘evaluing’ is over, Christmas trees might be illegal. You know, one of those ‘saving the planet,’ ‘green’ initiatives.
Again, what is it about the image of our beloved Christmas trees that must be fixed, or improved upon?
Thanks to Judy W. and David Lemon, Master Sculptor, for the tip