The Bottom Line on the Christmas Tree Tax
Wednesday, November 09, 2011 9:55 AM

The federal government is about to take a little bite out of the holiday cheer.  

The Department of Agriculture has announced that it will impose a 15 cent tax on all sales 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. 

There might be some unintended consequences to this though, not the least of which would be outcry at a hidden tax. 

The Federal Government has officially declared that the tree you put up in your home during the Christmas season is…..get ready….a Christmas tree! No more holiday trees! 

This is quite surprising to me that the administration would not catch this one. Several times the tree in question is referred to as a Christmas tree by President Obama's own appointed Secretary of Agriculture. 

This is on the heels of Gov. Scott Walker who has officially changed the name of the tree that stands in the Wisconsin Capital Rotunda from "holiday tree" to Christmas Tree.  

Of course, the Freedom from Religion Foundation is already up in arms: 

“The reason that it was turned into a holiday tree was to avoid this connotation that the governor chooses one religion over another. It’s essentially a discourtesy by the governor to announce that. He intends that to be a slight and a snub to non-Christians, otherwise he would not do it.” 

The Bottom Line is this: I wonder what they are going to say when they find out that the President has arbitrarily done the same thing. 



Twitter: @elbottomline