Kevin Killeen

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree, you cost 15 cents extra.

A plan promoted by the Christmas tree industry to charge growers a 15 cent fee per tree will stand despite backlash, after reports have labelled it a “Christmas tree tax” promoted by the Obama Administration.

“Some people have misconstrued this to be some sort of a tax imposed by the Administration, and that is just blatantly not true,” said Pam Helmsing, Executive Director of the National Christmas Tree Association in St. Louis. “This is a program that was asked for by the industry. It’s funded by the industry. It’s a very common practice among agriculture.”

ABC news is reporting that sources tell them the program may be delayed for more study, after a backlash from conservatives seeking to blame the White House for the fee.

However Helmsing tells KMOX that is not true. The 15 cent fee will continue as planned.

The National Christmas Tree Association claims 70 percent of growers favored the plan during a comment period, and 90 percent of state and regional Christmas tree associations expressed support for it.

But who would end up paying the extra 15 cents?

“I really could not say that,” Helmsing said, “That’s getting into the business of the individual members that we just don’t have any data on.”

Helmsing does say that the fee would not be added on at the cash register. If it’s passed on to consumers, it would be embedded in the price tag.

Some 30 million real Christmas trees are purchased annually in the United States, compared to 40 million in the mid-1970s, Helmsing said.

Helmsing says a marketing plan to promote real trees is needed because of “false claims” being made by the artificial Christmas tree industry.

“There’s a lot of false information spread about the industry on a regular basis,” Helmsing said, “There’s a fake tree manufacturer that spends a lot of time and money to spend false information that somehow a fake tree is better for the environment than a real tree.”

Copyright KMOX Radio


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