Plans to levy a 15 cent “tax” on Christmas trees were scrapped on Wednesday, after causing an uproar among those worried that the Obama administration was acting like the Grinch, reports ABC News
The fee was delayed just 24 hours after it was announced in the Federal Registry, according to ABC News.
White House spokesman Matt Lehrich told the network: “I can tell you unequivocally that the Obama administration is not taxing Christmas trees. What’s being talked about here is an industry group deciding to impose fees on itself to fund a promotional campaign, similar to how the dairy producers have created the ‘Got Milk?’ campaign.”
But even so, the bad publicity the scheme generated led to its delay until at least next year.
The National Christmas Tree Association had asked for the fee to fund 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” and to “enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States” — in other words, to fend off competition from artificial trees.
The association said growers would have funded the program, which “was not expected to have any impact on the final price consumers pay for their Christmas tree.”
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