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house Bill H.R. 4205

Letting Small Tree Farms Opt Out of the Christmas Tree Tax

Argument in favor

The tax on Christmas trees that funds the USDA's marketing program hurts consumers and disadvantages small “choose-and-cut” tree farms in this niche industry. Small tree farms should be able to opt out of the program.

wsdraperv's Opinion
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12/24/2015
Remove all Christmas Tree taxes and eliminate this stupid program
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USAFCCF's Opinion
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12/24/2015
Who knew? A Christmas tree tax?? SMH.....
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Loraki's Opinion
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12/23/2016
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!
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Argument opposed

The USDA’s Christmas tree marketing program is invaluable to the industries and benefits both large Christmas tree wholesalers and the small farms. Allowing the tax that funds the program to be voluntary for small farms is unfair.

resistor's Opinion
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12/24/2015
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.
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davereid's Opinion
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12/25/2016
Either get rid of the marketing program and the tax entirely, or have the tax go towards environmental conservation efforts.
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Brittney's Opinion
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12/24/2015
All christmas tree farms benefit from this tax, so smaller farms should not be exempt. However, smaller farms should pay less, i.e. 5 cents per tree sold, rather than 15 cents.
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    Remove all Christmas Tree taxes and eliminate this stupid program
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    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.
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    Who knew? A Christmas tree tax?? SMH.....
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    Either get rid of the marketing program and the tax entirely, or have the tax go towards environmental conservation efforts.
    Like (9)
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    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!
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    All christmas tree farms benefit from this tax, so smaller farms should not be exempt. However, smaller farms should pay less, i.e. 5 cents per tree sold, rather than 15 cents.
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    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.
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    Why do we need Christmas tree marketing? Seems pretty self sustaining.
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    I support any reduction in taxes for any person for any reason. But go further - this should be eliminated for all. The USDA has no justifiable claim on the profits of the growers and no constitutionally-defensible ability to levy a tax. It's a crime that any growers are being robbed like this. Eliminate the tax altogether.
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    Why is the federal government taxing an industry in order to market it? Shouldn't that be the realm of the industry itself? Exempt everyone and kill this whole thing.
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    Let's give small business a break!
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    Is there anything the government hasn't taxed??
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    Who needs marketing for Christmas trees? Every single year small and large farms are practically overrun by demand. This is a perfect example of government idiocy.
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    This tax should probably be eliminated in its entirety. As long as it stands there is no reason to allow opt out beyond that that is already provided. Small growers who market 500 or fewer trees are not taxed currently. I see no reason to make additional modifications before we trashed the entire thing
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    I don't think The USDA program to market trees is necessary at all. However, I do not know about USDA marketing programs in general and this may be one of many different marketing programs that help support the demand of agricultural products in the US. Decision as to whether or not USDA marketing programs are necessary would require much more information, and input from stakeholders like the farmers themselves than is provided here. From the explanations above it looks like the program is marketing Christmas trees from wholesalers to retailers. At first glance this would seem like it does not benefit farmers who market directly to consumers by letting them come to their farm and cut down a tree. Although choose and cut farms are marketing their trees directly to consumers rather than to retailers they do benefit from such a program marginally, by having a presence of fresh cut Christmas trees in the marketplace. We see Christmas trees in the media incessantly but there is very little to differentiate a cut tree from an artificial tree in purely visual media. The rows and rows of cut trees that are displayed your big shops flood the air with the smell of Christmas trees which is a very effective way to differentiate cut trees from artificial. Were there only artificial trees, fewer people would think to drive out of town to a tree farm to cut their own tree. Small farmers who also benefit indirectly from the program should not be able to opt out from the program but I think there's room for them to negotiate a lower tax rate considering the lack of direct benefits.
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    Eliminate the entire program involving government control of a Christmas tree market. Only regulate to prevent damage.
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    I think 15 cents after 500 trees is fair. So if you sell 2000 trees for $50 a piece, your income is 100 grand while this tax cuts only $300. That's very reasonable.
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    While I see no reason for the promotional effort in the first place, as long as it exists, there's little reason the Retailers benefiting from it shouldn't pay for it.
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    All farms benefit from this tax. Small farms already pay less by virtue of having less revenue.
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    Really?!? You are bitching about 15 cents per $50+ tree? And it isn't even for regulating the business but for marketing for it. WTF! You folks do understand that services needed to maintain an orderly society aren't fulfilled by wish elves, right? It costs money and, unless you want to opt out of society, that money comes from you. Feel free to become Amish if you want to live in the U.S.A. without contributing to this society but STFU about freaking 15 cents, 3 thousandths of a percent max tax.
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