Should the Government Impose a 'Christmas Tree Tax'?
SodaHead News 2011/11/09 23:28:26
Whether you want to call this a "tax" or not is really up to your interpretation, but the government is considering a mandatory 15-cent fee on fresh Christmas trees in order to fund a commodity brand ad campaign, sort of like the "Got Milk?" commercials that have been running since the '90s. Officials hope an ad campaign will improve the public's perception of the fresh Christmas tree industry, which has suffered in recent years. But will a Christmas tree tax make things better or worse?
The Heritage Foundation is critical of the proposed fee. David Addington, a former top aide to Dick Cheney, wrote an article for the conservative think tank claiming, "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."
White House spokesman Matt Lehrich explains, "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."
Betty Malone, an Oregon tree farmer with Christmas Tree Promotion Now, said, "We have good reason to believe it will be successful for our industry. We looked at what other industries have done, and how successful they've been."
Still, the administration has put the measure on hold to decide whether or not it would be a good idea. Some are worried the industry will shift the tax to consumers, charging them the extra 15 cents instead of taking the hit themselves, but the biggest argument against the fee is the fact that tree sellers would not get a choice in the matter.
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