As a taxpayer activist,
I hate to admit I look forward to April 15, but I do. Of course, I’m
not spending the day working on my tax returns: I file as soon as I
have all my documents. The state Department of Revenue responds
quickly, so I applied my state refund to the amount I owed the
federal government after being required to take my first IRA
distribution. Please apply it to reducing the national debt, guys.
What I like is that
mid-April comes with taxpayer-activist activity. The
Washington-based Tax Foundation economists calculate Tax Freedom
Day, so we learn how many days the taxpayers in our state work for
the federal, state and local governments compared to other states.
Massachusetts taxpayers worked until April 25, the fourth-latest
freedom date in America. This year, it’s estimated that we’ll work
four days longer, until April 29. Must have been that Democrat tax
hike last year, or some local property tax overrides and Community
Preservation Act votes, or maybe the impact of federal tax policy on
our relatively high-income state.
The Tax Foundation also
computes the state and local per capita tax burden: the latest data,
for fiscal year 2012, shows Massachusetts’ burden is the
fifth-highest in the nation, $5,586 for every man, woman and child
in the commonwealth, 32.4 percent above the national average. So,
don’t let anyone tell you we don’t pay enough for essential
services, if they were ever effectively provided by a well-managed
will recall its taxpayer-activist history on Patriots’ Day, and last
Sunday, modern patriots kicked off the season with the annual
Tax Day Tea Party rally on Boston Common. This year, I was asked
by the Greater Boston Tea Party (GBTP) to be the keynote speaker.
It was a cold, damp day
to start, which I think discouraged some participation, but the sun
came out before I spoke, so it became a lovely afternoon to spend
with old and new friends. The theme of the event was, “If you like
your Freedom, you can keep your Freedom” (though you have to fight
for it). Speakers included:
Jim Wallace, Gun Owners
Action League, who so far has successfully defended our Second
Amendment right to bear arms. This could explain why, although there
were at least six unprovoked attacks on people last week by young
thugs on the Common, no one came near a group that probably included
a few armed patriots.
Terry Schilling of
American Principles in Action, speaking on Common Core. This is a
relatively new subject since someone got the bright idea to put the
federal government in charge of K-12 education. Hey, it worked for
health insurance! “If you like your health insurance, you can keep
your health insurance” (Obama and Tierney).
Steve Aylward, chairman
of the ballot committee “Tank the Gas Tax,” which requires more
signatures this spring.
Rep. Shaunna O’Connell,
R-Taunton, also supporting that ballot question, as well as speaking
about her big issue, EBT card reform, and the startling news from
last week that the Massachusetts House won’t allow discussion of
that subject during its coming budget debate.
Jessica Vaughan, from
the Center for Immigration Reform, telling us that “if you like your
borders, you should keep your borders,” and pointing out that Jeb
Bush’s recent remark that illegal immigration is “an act of love”
didn’t acknowledge the Americans who have lost loved ones to illegal
Daniel Morris, campus
coordinator for the Salem State University Students for Liberty, was
my favorite speaker, as he told us about the young people who are
spreading the cause of freedom not only here but around the world.
Catherine White, a
fiery redhead constitutional scholar, gave a passionate speech
Todd Feinburg, radio
talk show host and now “Drive Time Master,” preceded me. I figured
my job as keynote speaker was to encourage those 100 or so people
who showed up not to be discouraged because others did not. There’s
so much going on, everywhere, with other rallies and marches and
family weekend projects.
Further, in my
political experience, only those who are both politically aware and
unafraid of criticism can comfortably endure the kind of attack to
which the Tea Party has been subject since its 2010 electoral
success. Our strength is not in rallies, but in recognizing that
there are enough voters who agree with us about the issues noted
above, if we carefully identify them and reach out in various ways
through this coming election cycle.
Russell Caswell, owner
of a Tewksbury motel that the federal government had attempted to
seize in an asset forfeiture case. A federal judge ruled that he was
an “innocent owner” who did not know about the drug crimes taking
place on his property and therefore should not have it confiscated
by the government.
Dr. Ellen Kenner, Ph.D,
is a licensed clinical psychologist and host of “The Rational Basis
of Happiness” on radio stations coast to coast and online. I’ll find
her show because I missed her remarks, was talking to a young man
(age 24) who had just been passing by when he discovered us, a group
of people who made sense to him. I referred him to the young
Libertarians who had a table on the rally site.
Had to leave before
hearing Patrick Humphries, GBTP president, tell about the successful
policies of Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin (Tax Freedom Day, April
16), but I expect we’ll be hearing a lot about that governor this
We’ve been told by its
opponents how terrible the Tea Party is. Do you see anything from
Sunday’s rally that seems terrible to you? If you like your freedom,
join us to help you keep your freedom; you’ll be welcome.