Sick to death of taxes

Posted 4/21/09

“Barking against taxes,” read a sign worn by one.

The folks rallied at City Hall on Wednesday to decry rapidly-growing federal deficits and seemingly unreal sums of national debt.

The event was one of many so-called “TEA …

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Sick to death of taxes


For years, Mayor Scott Mangold indulged in a morning smoke.“But on April 1, they taxed me,” Mangold said, referring to a new 60-cent federal tax on cigarettes. “And I refused to pay it.”His comments were well received by a group of more than 150 people and three apparently government-wary watchdogs.

“Barking against taxes,” read a sign worn by one.

The folks rallied at City Hall on Wednesday to decry rapidly-growing federal deficits and seemingly unreal sums of national debt.

The event was one of many so-called “TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Parties” held across the United States, mobilized by grassroots efforts, national conservative groups and commentators. Some estimates pegged national attendance at more than 500,000 strong.

In addition to people who braved the elements on the City Hall lawn, those driving by the Powell event also seemed enthusiastic — serenading the gathering with passing honks, apparently in response to one protester's sign reading,

“Honk for capitalism.”

The goal was to get government to listen.

“It is our right to tell our elected officials when they've made a mistake and tell them to fix it,” said David Kellett, a local business owner who organized the Powell party.

“Our government has no money,” said Corrine Deans. “And I want them to stop stealing mine through higher and higher taxes.”

She chastised the governor and state legislators for accepting stimulus funds.

“They went for the money instead of what we the people wanted — just saying no to spending the money,” Deans said, adding, “I will not elect any politician who does not attempt to fight this.”

Kellett said it was time to stop spending money and start paying off the $11.2-trillion national debt.

“The more we pay off our debt, the stronger and more solvent our nation becomes,” he said.

“Any wish list anyone has — they're all going to be put on hold for a while,” said Deans.

Mangold suggested that shopping locally is part of the answer.

“If we can be more self-sufficient, it may be a buffer for what our Congress and president are about to ask us,” he said.

“It's coming. Soon, they will ask the American people to pony up and pay off the trillions of dollars in bills that we have recently acquired.

“At the city, we are going to be facing some tough (budget) decisions, but at least we are facing them and not printing money and worrying about it later,” Mangold said.

President Barack Obama's proposed budget for 2009 carries a $1.8-trillion deficit, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates.

The time for standing idly by has passed, said Kellett.

“We can't be complacent anymore. We have let this go on for too long,” he said, adding that the message was not one of revolution.

“We are here because we are Americans, and we love the constitution of America,” Kellett said.

Mangold called upon the gathered citizens to get involved in government by attending meetings, talking with legislators and running for office.

“Sure, you don't have time, but many of you can recite what happened on ‘American Idol' or ‘Grey's Anatomy' from the night before,” he said.

The protest at times strayed from just-tax protestation.

Kellett's remarks also expressed concern about infringed civil liberties, illegal immigration and smart-grid technology.

Mangold suggested that, in addition to getting politically involved, people pray for their country and leaders.

“The nice thing about prayer is they can't tax it — yet,” he said.

However, Mangold warned that his decision to kick the nicotine habit may bring more taxes from Uncle Sam.

“If more people are like me and stop smoking, they're going to have to tax something else,” he said.

This week, Kellett said TEA Party organizers across Wyoming are putting together a statewide organization to continue the effort and set up more events.

“We are keeping the momentum rolling,” he said.

Ultimately, Kellett said the protests will lead to change.

“I believe it will make a difference, because we are letting people know they are not standing alone, and they don't need to be afraid of the federal government,” he said.