Checking the “Tree Tax”
“Is President Obama ‘the Grinch who taxed Christmas’ trees?” That was a Los Angeles Times headline, touching on a claim checked by the Austin American-Statesman’s PolitiFact Texas. PolitiFact’s Gardner Selby talked with KUT’s Emily Donahue about the claim that originated with the Heritage Foundation and was repeated by, among others, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.
It started when a group of Christmas tree growers sought what they called a 15-cent assessment on each tree sold that would fund a national marketing campaign to help growers compete with vendors of artificial trees.
The Oregon tree farmer who led the task force that asked for the charge told PolitiFact Oregon she was stunned than anyone would describe the fee as something coming from the president. Her point was, the group had worked on the idea for more than three years, and it bounced around as an idea in the industry for 20 years.