STATE SPOTLIGHT: Top Christmas Trees Producing States

By at 5 December, 2019, 11:18 am

by Raymond J. Keating-

Are you a real tree or an artificial tree family at Christmas time?

If your family opts for the real tree, the National Christmas Tree Association serves up all kinds of information about real Christmas trees. For example:

●  “There are approximately 25-30 million Real Christmas Trees sold in the U.S. every year.”

●  “There are close to 350 million Real Christmas Trees currently growing on Christmas Tree farms in the U.S. alone, all planted by farmers.”

●  “There are close to 15,000 farms growing Christmas Trees in the U.S., and over 100,000 people are employed full or part-time in the industry.”

Of course, the agricultural sector of our economy overwhelmingly is about small businesses. For example, 93.4 percent of employer firms in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sector have fewer than 20 employees.

While Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states, the top two Christmas tree producing states are Oregon and North Carolina.

When it comes to how Christmas tree grower and other small businesses are treated, these two states are strikingly different. For example, on SBE Council’s “Small Business Policy Index 2019: Ranking the States on Policy Measures and Costs Impacting Entrepreneurship and Small Business Growth,” which ranks the 50 states according to 62 different policy measures, including assorted tax, regulatory and government spending measures, Oregon ranks a very poor 43rd, while North Carolina came in at a respectable 15th among the state.

While Oregon Christmas tree producers and other businesses benefit from the lowest level of consumption-based taxes and low workers’ compensation costs, they face major burdens, including very high personal income and individual capital gains taxes; high unemployment taxes; fairly high gas and diesel taxes; a death tax; a high energy regulatory burden; a high level of state and local government spending; and a high minimum wage mandate.

Meanwhile, as for Christmas tree producers in North Carolina, they face high state gas and diesel taxes but benefit from the lowest state corporate income and capital gains taxes among states that impose these taxes; have no death tax; enjoy relatively low property taxes; and a fairly low level of state and local government spending and debt. In addition, North Carolina has made substantial progress in recent years in reducing and reforming income taxes across the board.

For Christmas tree producers – again, overwhelmingly small businesses – it would be a nice Christmas gift if lawmakers in Oregon would follow North Carolina’s lead in reducing public policy burdens on entrepreneurship, small business and investing.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


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