No, the story being circulated by the right wing today that Obama was planning to impose a fifteen cent tax on Christmas trees is not true, similar to other claims related to their imaginary War on Christmas. Steve Benen explains:
It seemed like a simple little idea. The Christmas tree industry, which has been struggling in recent years, wanted to fund a promotional program, encouraging consumers to buy real, rather than artificial, trees over the holiday season. The idea was for Christmas trees to follow in the footsteps of milk, beef, and cotton, all of which benefited from successful promotional campaigns.
To pay for the effort, the industry launched the Christmas Tree Promotion, Research and Information Order, asking the Agriculture Department to approve a 15-cent fee, per tree, on domestic producers and importers. It was requested by the industry, to benefit the industry, and to be paid for by the industry.
The Agriculture Department solicited public feedback, and most supported the proposal. This week, officials gave the industry the green light to proceed.
And that’s when Republican hacks decided to intervene.
Some loons decided the Obama administration wants to impose a new “tax” on Christmas trees because the president “hates Christians.” National Christmas Tree Association spokesman Rick Dungey tried to explain this “has absolutely nothing to do with Obama,” and “it’s not a tax,” but it was too late — the right-wing message machine had already kicked into gear…
This fee was to be paid by producers at their request and would not be charged to consumers. Rather than get bogged down in explaining that he was not imposing a tax on Christmas trees, the Obama administration has delayed this proposal. ABC News also had more on the intent behind this plan:
The National Christmas Tree Association says the fee would fund a program “designed to benefit the industry and will be funded by the growers” and is “not expected to have any impact on the final price consumers pay for their Christmas tree.” According to the Federal Registry, the proposed Christmas Tree Promotion Board, which would be funded by the new fee, would launch 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” and to “enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States.”