Tea Time: concerned citizens protest taxes

Alex Entz/Business Manager

On April 15, the Cedar Valley will play host to one chapter of a larger protest sweeping the country. A Tax Day Tea Party protest has been planned to take place at 722 Water Street in Waterloo, along with dozens of other such protests across the country. The protest takes place on the day taxes are due, and supporters and organizers alike hope it will be a monumental indication to the government that the people do not condone “pork” projects, higher taxes or big government.

The focal point of each tea party is the dumping of “tea”—typically water—into a body of water as a sign of protest copycatted from the Revolutionary War.

The organizer of the Waterloo event (there will be eight tea parties in Iowa alone, and nearly 70 in Texas), Greg Tagtow has lined up guest speakers and a ceremonial “tea” dumping into the river. In place of tea, the crowd will be using water so as to be more environmentally friendly. The protest is expected to bring between 200 and 300 supporters.

Tagtow outlined the night’s key principles. “We want more efficient government, we want more responsible and discretionary spending, and we need to get rid of earmarks,” Tagtow said.
Walt Rogers, a leader in the local church and the Republican nominee in the race for the District 10 Iowa Senate race, will be speaking at the Waterloo tea party.

“I’m going to lift up freedom, which is what our country was founded on. When the government gets more control, we lose our freedom,” Rogers said.

Tagtow expounded on what the event’s focus will be on.

“We will be informing the crowd of all the ways the government is spending in excessive and wasteful ways — state and federal government. It will be informative, we will be telling people how to get involved,” Tagtow said.

Both stressed that it will be a nonpartisan event.

“We want to involve everyone, because taxes and spending doesn’t affect just one group. Both parties are guilty of wasteful spending,” Tagtow said.

In Iowa, the event will hold special significance, as the Iowa legislature has been debating a tax overhaul that would prevent Iowans from deducting federal taxes from their income before filing for state taxes. The new plan would bring in nearly $600 million in new taxes, but legislators having proposed using this new money to write in tax breaks and credits for the middle and lower class. Democrats champion the tax cuts for the lower and middle classes, while Republicans see a tax increase for small businesses. Looking at the issue, junior Alex Clopton, opposing the measure, called it “double-taxation.”

Junior Mike Droste also had mixed feelings about the Democrat-pushed plan.

After noting that 46 of 50 states are facing budget shortfalls, Droste found the plan to be a waste of time. “No politician wants to be caught dead slashing government programs or voting for tax increases, which is why they’re instead of concentrating on this political diversion that does neither,” Droste said.

Droste was encouraged that the plan will provide relief for the lower and middle classes in this recession, but he noted the difference between the parties’ numbers. “The Democrats say it’ll cut taxes for 60 percent and revenue will stay the same; the Republicans are singing a different tune.”

In either case, it adds a bit of extra heated debate sure to be brought up at the Waterloo Tea Party. Both issues are seemingly on a collision course for debate and widespread media attention in the coming days.

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