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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    12.11.17 @ 04:37 PM
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    Default Christmas Tree Tax: To promote the real thing

    Agriculture Department approves 15-cent-per-tree fee on growers to fund industry program

    WASHINGTON—
    — The Christmas tree ad wars are about to heat up, albeit in a rather jolly way.

    Following an extended debate that pit one region against another, the Agriculture Department on Tuesday gave the green light to a new industry-funded Christmas tree promotion program.

    By taxing themselves, growers will raise $2 million a year for ads promoting the merits of real, live trees. Or, at least, trees that once were living, as opposed to the artificial kind that have seized an increasing share of the holiday market.

    "As demographics and buying habits have changed, we have watched the market for real trees shrink drastically, requiring us to spend much more time and money on promotion," said Don Cameron, past president of the California Christmas Tree Association.

    Cameron and his wife, Carolyn, owners of a tree farm in Simi Valley, Calif., were among the 500-plus people to weigh in during the past year as the USDA considered the proposed Christmas Tree Promotion, Research and Information Order.

    Akin to similar programs that promote milk, beef and cotton, the Christmas tree program will impose on U.S. domestic producers and importers an initial fee of 15 cents per tree.

    A 12-member board will direct the money to generic ads and other promotions, as well as research. The promotions, according to the USDA, will present "a favorable image of Christmas trees to the general public," with the intent of improving the public "perception" of Christmas trees and, hence, their sales.

    "We have good reason to believe it will be successful for our industry," Betty Malone, an Oregon tree farmer and president of Christmas Tree Promotion Now, said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "We looked at what other industries have done, and how successful they've been."

    After three years, growers and importers will vote on whether to continue the program.

    Malone said she has been working on the tree promotion program for about 31/2 years. She said the ads and promotions are likely to begin next year, aiming to offset what's become a steady decline in tree sales.

    Fresh-tree sales declined from 37 million in 1991 to 31 million in 2007, according to the USDA. Artificial tree sales, meanwhile, nearly doubled, to 17.4 million, from 2003 to 2007.

    Nationwide, there are about 12,000 commercial Christmas tree farms, with production particularly heavy in North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

    Of the 565 comments submitted to the USDA, 398 supported the proposal, 147 were opposed, and the remainder fell into other categories.

    Some sentiment broke along state lines. Grower organizations in North Carolina and 18 other states and regions supported the new industry program, while growers in Texas and Vermont opposed it.

    "If the large wholesale growers want it, fine, but they can pay for it without reaching into the small growers' pockets," said Robert Childress of the Texas Christmas Tree Growers Association. "I feel that marketing for my products is my responsibility, and I choose to rely on my efforts."
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  2. #2
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    11.03.17 @ 01:35 PM
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    I read this this morning before taking off and running some errands...the whole thing is just a bunch of BS.
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  3. #3
    Baluchitherium loveevhsince79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VanHalenRules View Post
    I read this this morning before taking off and running some errands...the whole thing is just a bunch of BS.
    It is and it isn't. The growers voted on it and the money is simply being pooled to do advertising. I think the problem is calling it a "tax". In my mind, it's not really a tax unless it goes to government to wipe their butts with it. This is a good way to pull together as a group to accomplish a goal. The only drawback is that some people do not wish to participate such as the small growers.
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  4. #4
    Gird your loins Daisy Hill's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 11:34 AM
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    yeah, it's unfair to call it a "tax"...it's just a contribution to a cooperative advertising campaign

    no biggie

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  5. #5
    Future's in the past....
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    11.03.17 @ 01:35 PM
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    My problem is that any branch of the gov't was even involved in it. I just see this as one of those small things that is bound to get out of control at some point.
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  6. #6
    Atomic Punk TheresOnlyOneWay's Avatar
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    11.30.17 @ 11:15 AM
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    The U.S. Department of Agriculture is going to delay implementation and revisit a proposed new 15 cent fee on fresh-cut Christmas trees, sources tell ABC News. The fee, requested by the National Christmas Tree Association in 2009, was first announced in the Federal Registry yesterday and has generated criticism of President Obama from conservative media outlets. The well-trafficked Drudge Report is leading with the story, linking to a blog by David Addington, a former top aide to then-Vice President David Addington, at the conservative Heritage Foundation assailing the president thus: “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? And, by the way, the American Christmas tree has a great image that doesn’t need any help from the government.”

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics...tmas-tree-fee/
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  7. #7
    Atomic Punk lovemachine97(Version 2)'s Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 04:22 PM
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    A) It is a tax. If a grower refuses to pay it, they will go to jail.

    B) Any taxes to be levied nationally are duties of Congress, not the USDA. The executive branch can't just create a department of unelected officials and let that department start taxing people--even if they want it. How much authority does Congress even have? What if I grow and sell my own trees? No interstate commerce there.

    C) Sellers will not be swallowing this tax. Christmas trees will now go up in price by $0.15 per purchase. The purchasers of real Christmas trees will now pay more.

    D) Another way that the government can influence the market. Instead of forcing a grower or seller to advertise or pool together money to advertise, they bring the government in to let US pay for their ad campaign, all while federally mandated.

    E) Are Christmas trees wholly secular? Is this not a tax on a particular (Christian) religious tradition?

    Let's say this works and the artificial tree manufacturers need help. They'll probably do something similar. So are we going to have the non-elected members of the executive branch enforcing a tax (that gets passed on to the consumer) on real tree growers to try and get consumers to buy more real trees while simultaneously enforcing a tax on artifical tree growers to try and get us to buy more artificial trees?

    The USDA already does something similar. Tens of millions of dollars--our dollars--are spent every year to both get us to eat less cheese and to get us to eat more cheese.

 

 

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