Update: The program has been delayed:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is going to delay implementation and revisit a proposed new 15 cent fee on fresh-cut Christmas trees, sources tell ABC News.
Prepare to get nickel and dimed--literally--if you plan to buy a live Christmas tree over the next few years.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that all companies that produce 500 or more live Christmas trees per season will be subject to a new tax on each tree, which will pay for an advertising campaign promoting the industry.
The new fee, which has the support of industry Christmas tree growers, adds 15 cents to the cost of producing each tree and will raise about $2 million per year for the media campaign. The fund establishes a "Christmas Tree Promotion Board" comprised of regional Christmas tree producers that will work to "enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States," which has suffered with the rise of more companies that manufacture artificial trees.
According to the rules in the Federal Register, all companies that produce live Christmas trees must report to the board their sales and those that produce less than 500 trees may be exempt from the tax, but only by request. The board will establish deadlines for reporting sales, and companies will be charged for not meeting the mandated timetables.
The new program falls under the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996, which other industries have used to promote their own products in the past.
The first advertisements are not scheduled to run until the 2012 season.
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