Obama administration cancels tree tax

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November 9, 2011, 8:55 pm
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(NECN: Amy Sinclair) - Piper Mountain Farm in Newburgh, Maine sells around 2,000 fresh cut trees every year along with at least 4,000 wreaths, but grower Jim Corliss says his industry's been in slow decline.

"In terms of market share we've gone from 100 to 35 percent."

The reason for the drop? Artificial trees.

Corliss, who heads up the Maine Christmas Tree Association and is past president of the National Association says more people buy fake trees now because of a very successful marketing campaign.

The solution is to fight back with a marketing blitz of their own, paid for with a 15 cents tax on every fresh cut domestic and imported tree, according to Corliss.

Growers say the dedicated tax will raise about $2 million a year -- money that will be used to promote the merits of live industry, similar to the dairy industry's got milk campaign.

Some fresh tree fans have no problem supporting tree growers this way, but conservative bloggers and many consumers are outraged.

Corliss, says he hopes consumers will see the proposed tax the way he does -- a way to preserve open land and American jobs.

"That artificial tree is plastic and metal and made offshore."

He says that extra dime and nickel would make sure their industry is in good shape by the time smaller trees are ready for market.  

Tags: Christmas, Obama, tax, tree, Amy Sinclair, administration
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