Protestors brew anti-tax sentiment
April 21, 2009
By Warren Kagarise
When local Tax Day Tea Party organizer Tom Price arrived at the corner of Sunset Way and Front Street just after noon April 15, 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.
Instead of dumping tea into Issaquah Creek, however, demonstrators dangled tea bags from placards, clothing and sunglasses. The “tea” to which the protestors referred stood for “taxed enough already.”During the hourlong protest, demonstrators 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.
She said the sudden increase in government spending required community action.
Austin and many 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 Washington cities. 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 and Sunset, in front of the Issaquah Library, as the day progressed.
Price said he was surprised by the strong turnout.
“I thought it was going to be just me,” he said.
As he spoke from the street corner 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.
Earlier in the day, Issaquah resident Skip Blain 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 bailouts of the automotive and financial industries 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 reasons he decided to protest.
Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.