December brings the holiday season, with various Christmas and other holiday decorations, including trees, lights, and more. However, some lawmakers are hoping to play a role in addressing various issues surrounding these myriad decorations. Others hope to extend certain sales tax exemptions related to the holidays and holiday organizations. One lawmaker even plans to introduce legislation to provide tax credits to address the shortage in Santa Clauses this year.
In July 2021, Delaware Governor John Carney signed HB98 into law. The bill permitted importers of alcoholic liquors to take orders from retailers on any day, including Sundays and holidays such as Christmas, and process them for delivery. The bill removed one more supply chain hurdle that could have slowed down the delivery of hard eggnog for Christmas and champagne for New Year’s Eve to Delawareans.
Kansas state lawmakers introduced SB 311 earlier this year. The bill would provide a sales tax exemption to the Johnson County Christmas Bureau Association, specifically for providing food, clothing, cleaning supplies, personal care items, and other necessities to people who need and desire assistance.
SB 311 would additionally exempt sales taxes from being collected from any tangible personal property sold by or on behalf of the Association.
The Kansas Department of Revenue estimated that if passed, SB 311 would decrease state revenues by $8,500 in FY 2022.
Hawaii state lawmakers introduced two resolutions to promote a “Green Christmas.”
SR 65 and SCR 85, both introduced in March 2021, would encourage the public to select plantable native trees for holiday celebrations to help address the climate crisis. The resolutions further request the Greenhouse Gas Sequestration Task Force, with assistance from the Hawaii Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission and the University of Hawaii, to design a scalable pilot program that supports plantable native trees instead of imported evergreen trees.
The resolutions also task the Department of Land and Natural Resources to work with public and private stakeholders to identify and prepare land for reforestation for trees that become available for planting every January because of the new pilot program.
In late November, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation to address the use of lead in decorative lights. A04522/S05675A requires warning labels on each seasonal and decorative lighting product manufactured, sold, delivered, or distributed in New York with an electrical cord casing containing lead. Specifically, the bill requires a warning label for casings containing lead quantities greater than one hundred parts per million.
Another bill, the “New York State Go Green Season Act” (A900), was introduced in January 2021. The bill would create a limited sales tax exemption for selling fresh-cut evergreen trees from state sales and compensating use taxes. The bill would further grant municipalities the option to grant such limited sales tax exemptions.
In early December, a Pennsylvania state lawmaker sent a co-sponsorship memo to address the “Santa Labor Shortage.”
The memo notes that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania faces a labor shortage that includes seasonal Santas. A Wall Street Journal article notes that the national shortage is primarily the result of lingering “concerns about the [coronavirus]” which are “still high among a group of workers that skews toward older, heavier-set men.” The memo further notes that demand for Santas around the holidays this year has increased 121%. In comparison, the availability of Santas has decreased 10%.
While specific bill language has not been released yet, to address this shortage, the legislation would provide a tax credit for those hiring Santas or Santas working on their own to help offset “Santa-related costs.”
In West Virginia, alcohol sale laws on Christmas were also addressed by the legislature. Senate Bill 2020 went into effect September 22, 2021, permitting the retail sale of liquor from 06:00 to midnight everyday of the year except for Christmas Day and Easter Sunday. Nevertheless, Christmas Day consumers of mulled wine need not despair; the law still permits the sale of wine on Christmas Day at reduced hours.