Assemblywoman Woerner Announces Legislation to Support Local Tree Farms

Assemblywoman Woerner with Henry Buell, owner of Buell’s Farm in Gasevoort

Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner (D-Round Lake) announced new legislation on Tuesday, December 15th to aid local tree farms by establishing a “Go Green Weekend” for the tax-free sale of fresh evergreen products (A.8598). Mary Jeanne Packer, Executive Director of the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York, was also in attendance for the announcement at Buell’s Trees in Gansevoort.

“Choosing a Christmas tree is a great opportunity to make lasting memories with family and friends,” said Assemblywoman Woerner. “Establishing a tax-free ‘Go Green Weekend’ would encourage our families to shop locally while providing much-needed support to the hardworking farmers who help the state’s economic engine run.”

“Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year for making new and lasting memories with family and friends. And Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a beautiful Christmas tree that makes the holiday shine even brighter. I am co-sponsoring the ‘Go Green Weekend’ Act because it will provide real sales tax relief for consumers and help our local Christmas tree farmers continue growing this important sector of our economy. This bi-partisan bill is a win-win for Christmas tree growers and consumers alike, and I look forward to partnering with my colleague Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner to work toward its passage in 2016,” said New York State Senator Kathy Marchione (R,C,I-Halfmoon), Chair of the Senate’s Local Government Committee.

“There is nothing like a fresh, locally-grown Christmas tree in the house during the Christmas season,” said Assemblyman Bill Magee, Chair of the Assembly’s Agriculture Committee. “By establishing a tax-free weekend for purchasing New York-grown trees, we will save families some hard-earned cash while encouraging them to go out and support local farms.”

Currently, New York State’s evergreen producers must compete with out-of-state tree farmers, big-box stores and artificial tree sales. As a result, sales of Christmas trees grown in New York State declined by a staggering 66 percent between 2002 and 2012. Woerner’s legislation would benefit local consumers and farms by providing a sales tax exemption for fresh evergreen products — including trees, wreaths and garlands — during a three-day period beginning the first Friday of each December.

“On behalf of the state’s Christmas tree farmers, I want to thank Assemblywoman Woerner for her support of our industry,” said Mary Jeanne Packer, Executive Director of the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York. “The ‘Go Green Weekend’ Act will help raise the public’s awareness and encourage the purchase of farm-fresh trees and evergreen products for all New York Christmas tree farms, and we are pleased to be recognized for the important contributions that our farms make to New York’s agricultural community and to the upstate rural economy.”

“We are delighted to host the Assemblywoman at our farm today and appreciate her efforts to help our business and the New York State Christmas tree industry,” said Henry Buell, Owner of Buell’s Trees.

Investing in agriculture helps farmers and strengthens our economy, noted Assemblywoman Woerner. Earlier this year, Woerner fought for a state budget that funds the Christmas Tree Farmers Association of New York, as well as essential farm viability research to help farms become more profitable and sustainable.