White House Backs Off Christmas Tree 'Tax'

Whatever term you use, it's not happening
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2011 3:41 PM CST
White House Backs Off Christmas Tree 'Tax'
No 15-cent fee for now.   (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

So much for that new Christmas tree tax. After a storm of criticism on the right, the Agriculture Department has temporarily scrapped plans for the 15-cent fee, reports the Hill. Under the original plan, big producers and importers of trees would have paid 15 cents per tree, and the money would have set up a Christmas Tree Promotion Board to push real trees over artificial ones.

Sample criticism, from Republican Sen. Jim DeMint: It's the "single stupidest tax of all time." (And the Drudge Report has been giving it prominent play.) But the White disputes the semantics: “I can tell you unequivocally that the Obama administration is not taxing Christmas trees,” said a spokesman. “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." After the brouhaha, the USDA will "delay implementation and revisit this action.” (Scott Walker is making some Christmas tree headlines of his own in Wisconsin.)

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