Members of four conservative groups gathered on the Capitol steps Thursday to let lawmakers know they aren’t fond of plans to increase taxes and fees.
The rally was spearheaded by the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF), a free-market think tank based in Boise, but it had help in organizing activities. Tea Party Boise, Tea Party Treasure Valley, and Idahoans for Liberty joined IFF on the Capitol steps to stand against taxes.
The event was headlined by Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, an anti-tax group in Washington, D.C. Norquist said that citizens should urge their lawmakers to make tough decisions and quit spending more than they are taking in. “Taxes are what politicians do when they are not willing to reform government,” said Norquist. “This is critical debate.”
The anti-tax advocate argued against using tax increases to prop up state spending. “The idea that tax increases are part of the solution is wrong,” Norquist explained. “They are the problem, not the solution. Raising taxes is an enabler.”
The federal government’s spending habits, Norquist explained, are like an alcoholic looking for his next drink. “Someone with a drinking problem does not need another bottle of bourbon,” he laughed.
Russ Smerz of Tea Party Boise said that taxpayers are getting a raw deal because of bank bailouts, federal health care reforms, and increased taxes. But Smerz, who listed several taxes citizens pay, said people have the right to fight against more taxes. “We the people … have the right to vote and say ‘no new taxes,’” said Smerz
Lori Shewmaker, a member of Idaho for Liberty, slammed entitlement programs as unethical and immoral. “We seem to have lost the idea of self-governing,” said Shewmaker. “We are more concerned with our own special interests, even at the expense of someone else’s personal rights.”
Former House Republican candidate Tom Munds, who ran against Rep. Carlos Bilbao, R-Emmett, in the 2010 primary election, said that citizens should be free to control where their money goes and that elected officials should listen to those who pay taxes. “While we work, our elected officials find ways to tax us,” said Munds.
He warned rally-goers to think of the legacy they are leaving for their children. “What kind of generation will we be known as to those that look back at us?” Munds asked. “Are we going to look into our children’s eyes and tell them we were too weak or too scared to fight against such oppression?”
Wayne Hoffman, head of IFF, unlike other speakers, highlighted the only tax increase plan that is likely to come before lawmakers this year, which is a measure to hike the cigarette tax. “That’s wrong. No tax increase is appropriate.” said Hoffman. “You’re just hurting people and you’re doing so because you think you can get away with it, and that’s too bad.”
A handful of counter-protestors showed up to oppose the rally, including two people holding a banner for United Vision of Idaho, a group opposed to education and Medicaid cuts.
Note: IdahoReporter.com is published by the Idaho Freedom Foundation.