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USDA yanks Christmas tree fees after criticism
USDA yanks Christmas tree promotion program after conservatives call it a 'tax'
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' Is the Obama administration really taxing Christmas trees?

No, but the White House said Wednesday it is reversing its decision to approve an industry-sponsored Christmas tree promotion program after conservatives accused the Agriculture Department of spoiling Christmas with a new tree tax.

The program, similar to the "Got Milk?" campaign, would have been fully funded by fees on the industry at 15 cents per Christmas tree sold.

Critics said the costs could eventually be passed on to consumers. The National Christmas Tree Association said it wouldn't have an impact on the price consumers pay for their Christmas trees. The industry asked the USDA to set up the program.

White House spokesman Matt Lehrich said Wednesday that the USDA would delay the program, but defended it, saying it's not a tax.

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