Steve Shadley, Capital Public Radio
About ten-thousand protesters rallied against taxes at the state capitol today (Wednesday 4.15).
More than 800 “Tea Party” tax protests were held around the country today. One of the largest rallies happened at the state capitol this afternoon.
The protesters are calling for lower taxes and spending public money more responsibly.
Steve Shadley reports…
(sound of crowd singing star spangled banner)
An estimated ten thousand people gathered on the state capitol grounds. People dressed in red, white and blue waved signs that read “we’re not an ATM”…and “Don’t Tread On Me.” One man handed out fake 100-dollar bills and told people…”here’s your personal bailout…”
Bob Peterson stands at the edge of the crowd with his wife Norma. They’re from Cameron Park and both recently retired from jobs at Boeing. Bob says he’s fed up with what he calls California’s ridiculous tax rates…
“I’m a third generation Californian and I couldn’t be more disgusted with this state and with Arnold and we’re both life long republicans. But, this state has its head up where the sun don’t shine. And, we’re contemplating where we would move to. It’s going to be hard to do that because there aren’t any good alternatives in the U-S with Obama as president…but we’re lookin’…”
California lawmakers recently approved 12-and-a-half-billion dollars in tax increases in the state budget. 22-year-old Ken Falcy says he just bought a house in Sacramento’s suburb of Fair Oaks. And, he’s worried about making the payments while struggling to keep his accounting business afloat…
“You can’t even run a good business in California nowadays without getting over taxed and them ruining your company…especially with small businesses the way they are now…”
Kathy Ross spent an hour in traffic driving to the capitol from her home in the sierra foothills town of Placerville. She’s concerned about the costs of the federal stimulus package and congressional bailouts for failing banks and auto makers…
“I feel that not only are we being overtaxed but my children and grand children will be taxed for quite some time…we’re facing larger taxes all the time…and we’re facing higher taxes…they’re wasting our money…”
Ross sits in the shade waving some symbolic tea bags. Nearby, a tax protest organizer took to a stage on the capitol steps…where he urged the crowd to keep up the fight beyond tax day…
“We are organized. We have the technology…we are connected. And, from here forward we march together across this great country…”
And, with that…the crowd cheered. But, only for awhile. Some of the people here say they had to hurry home to finish up their tax returns to meet the deadline.