Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) expressed concerns about the usefulness of the USDA’s Christmas tree marketing program to the small “choose-and-cut” Christmas tree farms his bill seeks to exempt:
“By federally mandating that choose-and-cut businesses take part in this national promotional program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is forcing the entire industry to pay for an advertising campaign that primarily benefits large, national Christmas tree producers selling to the wholesale market, not small tree farms.”
The Christmas tree tax has been in place since 2010. It began with a USDA ISSUED REGULATION establishing a program for large-scale Christmas tree producers to tax sales to establish and fund the USDA’s marketing program for Christmas trees. It was removed from the law following public scrutiny, but was revived in the 2014 Farm Bill.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A REGULATION THAT HAS THE FORCE OF LAW, YET CONGRESS DID NOT VOTE ON AND PASS IT! THIS IS OVERREACH BY THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. IT SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN FUNDED BY CONGRESS! THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS ABSOLUTELY NO CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY FOR ESTABLISHING A MARKETING PROGRAM FOR CHRISTMAS TREES! MOREOVER, TREES ARE A RENEWABLE RESOURCE, NOT AN ENDANGERED SPECIES!
While no national general sales tax exists, the federal government levies several national selective sales taxes on the sale or lease of particular goods and services. I think we should leave sales taxes in the hands of those states that choose to impose them. ANYBODY REMEMBER THE BOSTON TEA PARTY???!
The Tea Party was the culmination of a resistance movement throughout British America against the Tea Act, which had been passed by the British Parliament in 1773. Colonists objected to the Tea Act because they believed that it violated their rights as Englishmen to "No taxation without representation," that is, to be taxed only by their own elected representatives and not by a British parliament in which they were not represented.
As Countable member "operaman" said:
"First, a sales tax is charged when the Christmas tree is sold at retail. The USDA understands that this is a special tree at Christmas time and provides a excellent time to reach into our wallet. Does the USDA tax walnuts or almonds at Christmas- no. Or peaches or apples for Thanksgiving? Just a cash grab because families desire to support their children's urging for a tree and gifts under that overpriced tree. Just Government suppression of Christmas. Christmas trees are not destroying our forests because these are tree farms -just like growing apples or walnuts."
And as Countable member "resistor" said:
"First, why does the USDA have a Christmas Tree Marketing Program? This is yet another example of government overreach. There is no Constitutional foundation for this, so it should be discontinued immediately. Second, if some must pay a tax, all must pay. Exceptions are inherently unfair to those on whom the exception does not apply."
After introducing identical legislation during the 113th Congress in December 2014, Rep. McCaul added that while he supports a full repeal of the Christmas tree tax, he was optimistic that Congress could agree to at least his limited exemption.
Rep. McCaul needs to rewrite this bill and push for a full REPEAL of this TAX!