The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved an industry-supported 15-cent tax on fresh cut Christmas trees to fund a campaign to promote the purchase of real trees. The Christmas Tree Checkoff Task Force, which formed in early 2008, approached the USDA about creating the proposed national research and promotion program.
"The purpose of the program will be to strengthen the position of fresh cut Christmas trees in the marketplace and maintain and expand markets for Christmas trees within the United States," according to an entry in the Federal Register.
Growers who import or produce fewer than 500 trees are exempted.
The fee could increase to 20-cents per tree in the future. Three years after implementation the USDA proposes taking a referendum of industry producers and importers to see if the tax should remain in place.
Since the tax was posted in the federal register Tuesday, the President Barack Obama's administration has faced sharp criticism from conservative new sources, to include the Drudge report.
ABC News is now reporting that the USDA will delay implementing the tax.