Activists brew anti-tax sentiment at ‘tea party’

April 15, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6 p.m. April 15, 2009

When local Tax Day Tea Party organizer Tom Price arrived at the corner of Sunset Way and Front Street just after noon today, he was alone. Then, he looked down Sunset: Less than 500 feet away, hundreds of protestors were gathered on the steps of City Hall.

Price and more than 200 others were part of a groundswell of frustration with government bailouts, federal spending and the policies of Congress and the Obama administration. Demonstrators in Issaquah and across the nation used the government deadline for filing income tax returns for an event modeled on the Boston Tea Party.

See a slideshow of photos here.

Instead of dumping tea into Issaquah Creek, however, activists dangled tea bags from placards, clothing and sunglasses. During the hourlong protest, they sang “God Bless America” and waved American flags and handmade signs with slogans, like “Note to Congress: You are not representing me!” and “No more public money for private failure.” Another placard called out Washington’s senior senator: “Do you hear us, Patty Murray?” A protestor dressed as a minuteman rallied the crowd.

“It’s not just a party issue,” said Mary Austin, a Sammamish resident who wore headgear decorated with a bar graph that depicted deficit spending. Although lawmakers respond to e-mails and calls, Austin said the sudden increase in government spending required community action.

Austin and other protestors learned about the local Tax Day Tea Party online. Organizers used the Web site www.taxdayteaparty.com to rally supporters from coast to coast. Similar events were scheduled in Seattle, Bellevue and other cities in the state. Thousands of anti-tax protestors descended on the state capitol in Olympia.

Price, of Issaquah, said the event was the first political protest in which he had participated. Price and a handful of others moved the protest to the intersection of Front Street and Sunset Way, in front of the library, as the day progressed.

Price said he was surprised by he strong turnout.

“I thought it was going to be just me,” he said.

As he spoke from the corner of Sunset and Front at 4:30 p.m., motorists sped past and blared their horns.

“It’s surprising how much support we got in a Democratic stronghold,” he said.

Skip Blain, of Issaquah, stood in front of City Hall and held aloft a cardboard sign that read, “Don’t tax me, bro.” He expressed concern about passing along budget deficits to future generations.

Other protestors said using tax dollars to pay for government entitlement programs rankled them. As one sign put it, the demonstrators were TEA’D OFF – an acronym for “Taxed Enough Already Discontinue Obama’s Funding Frenzy.”

“Spending, spending, spending,” Price said, listing the reason he decided to protest.

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Comments

4 Responses to “Activists brew anti-tax sentiment at ‘tea party’”

  1. Tim Dutcher on April 16th, 2009 8:58 am

    I’ve sat on the political sidelines for a long time now. I’m a quiet, low-key software developer who sends the occassional letter to politicians but that’s about it. I’m not counting on Social Security or Medicare being available when I retire so I’m saving all I can. But now that I have kids I’m becoming very concerned about our nation’s debt and frivolous spending. Credible economists are saying that if we spread the debt to each household in the U.S. then we’re all in debt upwards of $50,000. Now, if I’m saving for my retirement and my kids’ college but I owe the government at least $50,000 (and more to come, it seems) then how can I plan for the future? And how much do my kids already owe? And for what? So, when it comes to these tea parties, I can understand why over 200,000 people hit the streets on 4/15. We go to work and pay taxes… but our government is spending far more than they’re taking in. And what do we have to show for it? Now, if a sideliner like me becomes an activist to help put a stop to this out of control spending then there’s going to be a huge tidal wave of the ‘silent majority’ just like me out there doing the same. I think the tea parties were only a start of something much bigger.

  2. Ann Lamb on April 16th, 2009 10:11 am

    “ACTIVISTS”? You’ve got to be kidding?

    These were just local non-political folks of all ages who are disgusted at what they are seeing at every level of government. Spending our children’s future, raising taxes in an economic downturn. We came out to remind our representatives of their responsibilities. There were people there of all ages in the middle of a workday, moms with kids, 20 and30-somethings, and I recognized at least a dozen from a local retirement community.

    This is just the beginning, but it is truly grassroots. Independence Day next.

  3. Jean Strait on April 22nd, 2009 4:00 pm

    I don’t mind being called an “activist” now that I’ve bcome active on behalf of my children and grandchildren. Right now, the Democrats are uniting to save their party; some Republicans are compromising in order to get along. I see a new party on the horizon—the TEA Party. I’m tired of being silent. Together our voices will be heard, as long as we are all singing the same song.

    The TEA party in Issaquah was refreshing and enlightening. I am not alone.

  4. TOM PRICE on January 27th, 2011 10:36 am

    AS EVIDENCED BY WHAT WE SAW IN THE ELECTIONS OF NOVEMBER 2010
    IM VERY HAPPY TO VERIFY THAT TIM DUTCHER’S PROPHECY ABOUT THE TEA PARTY BECOMING SOMETHING MUCH BIGGER AND HAS INDEED BECOME A VIABLE FORCE IN POLITICS TODAY
    AND IT GIVES ME PAUSE TO THINK HOW FRAGILE, AND HOW STRONG THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION IS AND HOW LUCKY WE ARE TO COME TOGETHER TO CHANGE THINGS IN GOVERNMENT WHEN WE FEEL THINGS NEED CHANGING. IN SPITE OF NANCY PELOSI’S VILE COMMENT ABOUT REGULAR FOLKS BEING ‘ASTRO TURF’ ITS NICE TO SEE HER ON THE OUTSIDE FINALLY, OBAMA’S NEXT. THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO STOOD UP AND MADE A DIFFERENCE.

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