04/16/09 — Taxpayers protest

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Taxpayers protest

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on April 16, 2009 1:46 PM

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Protesters gather on the steps of Goldsboro City Hall Wednesday for a Tax Day Tea Party rally. Protesters gathered at state Capitols and in neighborhoods and town squares across the country Wednesday.

The "Don't Tread On Me" flag, embedded in history as a symbol of the American colonies' rebellious bid for freedom, flew again Wednesday over cities and towns across the country as thousands of protesters made their voices heard.

About 300 people gathered at noon outside Goldsboro City Hall for a tax day protest that was part of a nationwide movement of Americans speaking out against the state and the federal governments' financial policies.

North Carolina Sen. David Rouzer, Wayne County commissioner Steve Keen and John Locke Foundation analyst Daren Bakst were among the speakers at the local gathering of the New American Tea Party, a coalition of citizens and organizations concerned about what the group's Web site defines as "the recent trend of fiscal recklessness in government."

"I've got a message for the president and the Congress: It's not your money," Rouzer said, drawing cheers from the crowd.

Many of the attendees carried protest signs, some reading "Change, what's left after taxes," "Tax breaks, not pork spending" and "Obama is the biggest threat to American freedom."

Rouzer called for a "fundamental change" in the current administrations in Washington, D.C., and Raleigh.

"You don't want these folks in control. They're radical, liberal Democrats," Rouzer said.

Responsibility for repaying the federal stimulus funds will be passed on to the next generation, Rouzer said.

"They believe the money grows on trees and you can print all the money you want to print, and there's going to be no consequences," he said.

Commissioner Keen asked the group to keep county, state and federal leaders alike in their prayers.

"I can look out over this crowd and see 250, 300 people that have gathered to speak their hearts and minds," he said. "This is wonderful. It's great to be a citizen -- a legal citizen."

Many locals from Goldsboro and surrounding municipalities showed up for the protest. Ohio resident Joan Blair, visiting family in Goldsboro, took the time to attend the rally with her son and his family.

"I see freedom being taken away from my family and from future families," Mrs. Blair said. "I don't see changes that are good for our country."

Sleepy Creek resident David Perkins said he attended the rally to voice his disagreement with the government bailouts.

"The person who is guilty gets out of it," he said. "The people need to stand up and take a stand for what they believe in. We want out liberties back, our basic rights back."

Many of the crowd brought their children with them, some carrying their own signs remarking on the debt that will result from the more than $11 trillion national deficit. Protester and mother Susan Johnston said she's concerned for the financial challenges her own children will face in coming years.

"I have five children, and I feel very bad for their future," Mrs. Johnston said. "It's not a political issue, it's everyone."

Bakst, a legal and regulatory policy analyst for the John Locke Foundation, said Americans are living in a pivotal time.

"The federal government is taking money from those who have been responsible and giving it to those who have not been," Bakst said. "I'm not a debt counselor, but I don't think you get out of debt by actually incurring more debt."

And the current administration's policies on energy and taxes could cause electric and gasoline bills to increase, and the tax cuts are going to the wrong people, he said.

"Energy is the lifeblood of the country. This will tax every good, every service. Nearly half of the tax cuts are going to people who don't pay taxes," Bakst said.

He also touched on the topic of forced annexation. Multiple bills proposing different varieties of annexation reform have been introduced into the North Carolina senate during recent sessions.

"It is wrong for people living in unincorporated areas to be forced into a city against their will," Bakst said.

But ultimately, the power rests with the voting public, he said.

"Throw the bums out if they're not going to protect you and the free market," Bakst said.

The New American Tax Party is associated with Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, the Institute for Liberty, the Heartland Institute, the National Taxpayers' Union and the Coalition for a Conservative Majority.