Proposed tree fee delayed by Dept. of Agriculture
WASHINGTON - A fee on Christmas trees that was scheduled to go into effect today has been delayed by the Obama administration, after backlash against the program from organizations who called it a tax.
The program would have charged some growers 15 cents per tree to pay for nationwide advertising that would promote the fresh-cut Christmas tree industry. The fee was requested by the National Christmas Tree Association in 2009 and approved by the Department of Agriculture. It would have been levied against growers that sell 500 or more trees, which would have paid the fee in February.
Yesterday, the conservative Heritage Foundation posted a story calling the program a "tax" on Christmas trees because it assumed the costs would be passed onto consumers.
Today, White House spokesperson Matt Lehrich told ABC News that the Agriculture department delayed implementing the program and would revisit the issue.
News 2's Rachel Frost will have local reaction about the program coming up tonight on News 2 at 6 p.m.