Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tax Day Tea Party

Nationwide: Coast-to-coast tea parties put lawmakers on notice - Taxpayers descend upon politicians in numbers far beyond expectations

SACRAMENTO – Americans took to the streets to protest wasteful government spending today – with estimated crowd sizes of 5,000 to 10,000 in Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Olympia, Wash., Lansing, Mich., and Sacramento.

At the California Capitol, a sea of red, white and blue U.S. flags waved above a large crowd that surrounded the building and spilled into city streets. Visitors arrived in yellow school buses from surrounding cities.

Sacramento tea party organizer Mark Meckler scanned the scene from behind a platform before the event.

"It's unreal. It's beyond my imagination," Meckler told WND with a dazed look. "I can't imagine anything better than this."

Some protesters shouted at the Capitol building with megaphones: "Hey, tell Gov. Schwarzenegger to come out here!"

"We are leading a revolution, and this is the first day of that revolution," Meckler said. "Politicians will no longer be able to divide our nation. They are taking our money, and we aren't going to stand here and take it anymore."

With booming enthusiasm, the crowd recited the Pledge of Allegiance and began wildly chanting, "USA, USA, USA!"

Their voices could be heard from blocks away as the California legislature remained in session and lawmakers dared not venture outside.

Local businessmen, families with small children, military veterans and elderly men and women carried handmade signs with a variety of creative messages.

After speaking with WND, Meckler climbed the stage and asked the crowd, "How many of you have never been to a protest before?"

The crowd erupted in cheers as thousands of tea partiers raised their hands.

"Our politicians think that you don't pay enough taxes," Meckler said. "As we stand outside, the California legislature is in session."

The crowd let out a thunderous "boo."

"We've had it!" Meckler shouted. "We're tired of being punished by politicians!"

They cheered wildly and drowned out Meckler's voice, chanting, "Vote them out!"

Guests included Michael Reagan, Rep. Tom McClintock, singer Lloyd Marcus and Fox News' Neil Cavuto.

"In the 27 years since I came to this building, I have never seen a protest this large," McClintock said. "The silent majority is no longer silent."

He continued, "Some time along the way, we lost our country. Don't you think it's time to take it back?"

The crowd applauded with excitement.

Air Force reservist Sgt. Kevin Steele told WND he returned from his second tour in Iraq two weeks ago.

"I think this is just wonderful to see," he said. "I'm disappointed to see how much things have deteriorated since I left."

Asked for his thoughts on the Department of Homeland Security report warning against the possibility of violence by unnamed "right-wing extremists" and specifically singling out returning war veterans as particular threats, Steele said he was baffled and felt a deep sense of betrayal.

"I couldn't believe it," he said. "I'm the guy they're watching now? Give me a break!"

He continued, "You can send me over there and put a weapon in my hands, and now you worry about me? It's disappointing and disheartening."

California Highway Patrol officers, sheriffs and horse-mounted city police surrounded the event on all sides. There were no noticeable arrests or acts of violence at the tea party.

One Highway Patrolman told WND there were more than 5,000 people at the event.

Meanwhile, in Washington D.C., 1,000 people huddled beneath umbrellas in Lafayette Park across from the White House. The crowd consisted of a broad variety of protesters of different ages, nationalities and political parties.

When the crowd was asked, several Democrats indicated that they were present as part of the protest. Many parents brought their children along, who were also carrying signs and chanting.

Speakers at the D.C. event included talk-show host Laura Ingraham, Alan Keyes and Grover Norquist.

The rally combined with another Washington, D.C., party after Secret Service members revoked a permit to meet outside the U.S. Department of Treasury.

One tea partier, Rusty Carrier, allowed all employees at his Culpepper, Va., farm to take the day off and attend the protest. Carrier said he felt the pains of high taxation and the government's reckless spending.

"I don't travel to D.C. very often because I can't do it," he told WND. "Unlike the government, I don't spend money I don't have.

In Tennessee, an overwhelming crowd of 10,000 people met on the Legislative Plaza, spilling into sidewalks and up the hill toward the Capitol building, Americans for Tax Reform reported. Cars circled the area, honking horns.

In Rochester, N.Y., 1,000 tea partiers marched on the county administration building and city hall.

Approximately 4,000 people crowded Fountain Square in Cincinnati, while 8,000 gathered in Madison, Wis., 5,000 surrounded the Oklahoma Capitol and 4,000 attended the Chicago party. Even Rhode Island, the smallest U.S. state, brought 1,000 protesters to its Capitol.

Washington state police estimated crowds of 5,000 in Olympia while 2,500 marched the streets of Boise, Idaho and 1,500 rallied in Austin, Texas. In Lansing, Mich., throngs were measured at 7,000, while 3,000 gathered in Hartford, Conn., and 2,000 Floridians in Jacksonville poured wagons of tea into the St. Johns River.

An additional 1,000 people packed into Market Square in Pittsburgh, Pa., while some 3,000 gathered in Des Moines, Iowa.

Organizers say the Atlanta event may have been among the largest tea parties, in part because of the presence of conservative talk show host Sean Hannity, who broadcast live from the Georgia Capitol. Thousands crowded around the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, as nationally syndicated talk show host Glenn Beck aired his television show there.

Across the nation, thousands of tea partiers sang the national anthem, recited the Pledge of Allegiance and chanted while waving U.S. flags and displaying homemade signs.

California: Taxpayers Pack City Plaza For Protest

Fed up taxpayers packed Chico City Plaza Wednesday for a tax day tea party.

The event, inspired by the Boston Tea Party, was part of a nationwide effort to protest excessive taxes and increased government spending.

A series of speakers took the plaza stage Wednesday to share their frustrations with local and federal officials. Many in the crowd responded with cheers, while holding signs criticizing President Obama and calling recent economic policy outright socialism.

"If my business was belly up there would be nobody there to bail it out. So I think we need to stick to the ideals our founding fathers came up with for this country, " said Cade Boeger, who made the 45 minute drive from Cherokee for the protest.

Meanwhile Gridley resident Owen Stiles held a navy flag flown during the American Revolution. He said the flag was a protest against the movement away from traditional American capitalism.

"I think we've gone a long way from what our founding fathers thought we would have in an America," lamented Stiles.

Tennessee: Chattanooga Tea Party Draws Hundreds To Ross’s Landing

Wednesday’s Tax Day Tea Party at Ross’s Landing drew about 1,000 area citizens who came to protest runaway federal spending, members of the group said.

The local activities were part of "a nationwide surge of non-partisan tax day tea party protests in nearly 500 cities that harkened back to the Colonial sense of outrage shown in the original Boston Tea Party in 1773."

Protestors filled the public green across Chestnut Street from the Tennessee Aquarium, carrying signs showing anti-spending and anti-tax sentiment. Participants called their elected officials during the protest and signed copies of the U.S. Constitution as part of a petition package to be sent to Congressional leaders.

Officials said, "Throughout the protest, ordinary citizens quoted from the founding fathers and historical documents in an effort to highlight the principles and beliefs upon which the nation was founded. There were many other activities that all served to highlight the rampant and runaway spending that is crippling the nation economically."

“Recent spending, from the TARP to the stimulus, was passed with little debate and almost no opportunity for legislators to read what they voted on,” said tea party organizer Mark West. “We’ve gotten to the point where Congress just passes spending to make people feel good, but there is little accountability to ensure that spending gets real results. Continued spending of this magnitude will force huge tax hikes for everybody, not just the so-called rich, and limit economic opportunity for our children and grandchildren.”

Speakers at the rally included Bradley County Sheriff Tim Gobble, Tennessee GOP Chairman Robin Smith, Hamilton County Commissioner Bill Hullander, former Tennessee state Sen. David Fowler, UTC professor Dr. Joe Dumas, Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Matthew Bryant, Hamilton Country school board member Rhonda Thurman, and businessmen Jeremy Jones and Premo Mondone.

Speakers "focused on the massive buildup in government spending and the importance of citizen involvement in and oversight of our government at each level – local, state and federal."

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this year’s deficit will be $1.8 trillion, or 13.1 percent of GDP – the largest deficit as a share of GDP since 1945. The CBO also projects the president’s current proposals will add $4.8 trillion to baseline deficits over the 2010-2019 period and total $9.3 trillion, officials said.

West Virginia: 300 line square to protest taxes

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Hundreds of people rallied Wednesday in the Eastern Panhandle against government spending and taxes, joining thousands across the nation who took part in hundreds of such “tea” party protests on tax day.

“Basically, the government just needs to stop — they need to think about what they’re doing,” Kathy Lane said as she held a sign attached to a yardstick at the corner of East King and South Queen streets in Martinsburg for passing motorists to see.

“They’re bankrupting our country and I think they’re taking away our rights. And I’m sick and tired of it,” she said.

The Bunker Hill, W.Va., resident readily acknowledged the government spending that concerns her didn’t start with the Obama administration, but it has continued to escalate.

“They have to draw the line somewhere. Everybody else makes cutbacks, the government needs to make cutbacks,” said Lane, who works for the Jefferson County Board of Education.

Sharpsburg resident Sharon Nutter held an American flag aloft that was being flown upside down, which she said symbolized a nation in distress.

“I’m opposed to big government and I believe we’re on the road to socialism,” Nutter said.

“Obama is spending us to death, and somewhere along the line we’re going to have to pay for all of this,” Nutter said. “And how do you think we’re going to pay for all of it? They’re going to tax me and you, that’s how they’re going to do it.”

Barbara “Barb” Miller, organizer of the Martinsburg rally, said she was surprised by the turnout, given the fact that steady rain was falling before it began at 5 p.m.

“It far exceeded our expectations,” Miller said of 300 people who lined the corners of Martinsburg’s downtown square at Queen and King Streets, prompting motorists to blare their horns.

She told those who gathered that the rally has to be more than “just talk” and encouraged people to sign a petition that would be sent to the White House and elected officials, including Sens. Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller.

Miller, of Gerrardstown, W.Va., said she was told that about 150 people attended the rally outside the Jefferson County Courthouse in Charles Town, which was an off-shoot of the one she began organizing three or four weeks ago.

People at Martinsburg’s rally held signs that proclaimed “it’s the constitution, stupid,” “born free, taxed to death,” and a quote by President Herbert Hoover, “Blessed are the young for they shall inherit the national debt.”

Those gathered sang along with vocal and instrumental performances of the national anthem, “God Bless America” and “God Bless the USA” and at one point began chanting “no more taxes.”

The National (Taxed Enough Already) TEA Party Day rallies were among several held in communities across West Virginia, including Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown and Parkersburg.

Virginia: Thousands vent anger at Tax Day Tea Party

It rained on the Richmond Tax Day Tea Party, but that didn't dampen the enthusiasm of several thousand chanting, sign-waving Virginians.

They crowded into the Kanawha Plaza tonight to vent their anger at what they consider a big-spending government that they fear is taking away their freedoms.

The signs told the story:

"The Real Pirates are in Congress."

"Stop Toxic Spending!"

"Tea Party Today. Tar and Feathers Tomorrow!"

"Unrepentant Capitalist!"

"Obamanomics. Trickle Up Poverty."

"Obama Wants Your Dollars. Do You Want His Change?"

"Who Will Bail Out the Bailout?"

Across the nation today, tens of thousands of protesters staged hundreds of "tea parties," from Boston to Salt Lake City, from Kentucky to Alaska to rail against the nation's mounting debt and spending they think is out of control.

Protesters even threw what appeared to be a box of tea bags toward the White House, causing a brief lockdown at the compound.

At the Richmond tea party, some wore tea bags as earrings.

A series of speakers, many from radio station WRVA, railed against the government and the growing federal debt. But the loudspeakers weren't strong enough to carry the speeches to the rear of the crowd. Many shouted their disapproval with the sound system.

A Patrick Henry impersonator drew the biggest applause with a recitation of his famous "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech, made just a few blocks away in 1775.

Robert Bruce came up from Aylett to hold an American flag upside down, a symbol of distress.

"America is going in the wrong direction," he said.

Nessa Park of Richmond, attending her first political rally, checked a reporter's identity before talking to him.

"I don't want socialism," she said.

The speakers sounded an anti-government theme. Matt Whitworth, a student at Virginia Commonwealth University, said, "The best way to fix the economy is to cut taxes . . . and get the government out of our lives."

Jamie Radtke, a member of the group Restoring the Founders' Vision, brought her young children with her to emphasize her point that the growing debt is "embezzling and pillaging our children's future."

Sarah Halsey wore red, white and blue ribbons in her hair and a sandwich board that proclaimed, "I am only 8 years old and I'm already $36,000 in debt." On the back, it read "Keep your Marxist hands out of my piggy bank."

Her father, Stephen Halsey, 40, of Henrico County held a sign that said, "Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem."

On the outskirts of the crowd, Charles Jones, 46, of Henrico County held a giant wooden pitchfork that impaled large dollar bills labeled "earmarks" and "waste."

Ashley Farley, 14, and Ivy Williamson, 13, both of Mechanicsville, stood atop a wall leading into the park and waved to passing vehicles. They held homemade signs that read "Stop spending our future" and "Party like it's 1773."

Texas: More than 400 protest taxes and big government at Victoria's Texas TEA party

Signs such as "Give us liberty, not debt," "Stop spending our kids' money," and "Can we lay off Congress?" waved high in the air at the Taxed Enough Already Party in Victoria on Wednesday evening.

More than 400 citizens gathered in De Leon Plaza in downtown Victoria to express their concerns about taxes.

Victoria was one of 300 cities across the country participating in the movement.

What are your thoughts on Congress raising taxes?

"The founders were real specific about the limitations our government was supposed to have. Over time, they just gradually expanded and expanded, which now we have a federal government that is pretty invasive in our lives."

- Mike Cloud, president of Victoria County Young Republicans, Victoria

"Congress has been given too much control. It's time for the people to tell them this is enough. We, as people of America, should vote for more things that they pass."

-Judy Argo, agent nurse, Victoria

"I think (taxes) can be a lot lower if the government did what the Constitution says it should do. They're too high. We should go to the fair tax. It doesn't tax productivity. It taxes consumption."

-Peter Aparicio, government teacher at Memorial High School, Victoria

"I don't mind paying taxes. We live in a great country, but I think Washington should be accountable and responsible for all they money we send them."

-Kenny Smith, electrical engineer, Victoria

Montana: Hundreds of protesters gather at Great Falls "tea party"

Hundreds of people braved the snow, rain, and chill in downtown Great Falls on Wednesday to participate in a tax day "tea party."

Ohio: Protesters gather for Pataskala tea party

PATASKALA — Several residents gathered near downtown Wednesday to conduct their own, slightly different version of the Boston Tea Party.

They gathered near the intersection of Ohio 310 and Main Street, and although they did not do anything dramatic — like dump tea into the nearby South Fork of the Licking River — they still made their voices heard.

Pataskala resident Anne Rodgers attended the tea party. She waived a red, white and blue hand-painted sign urging politicians to reduce the business tax rate.

“I think it’s the voice of the American people,” said Rodgers, when asked about the event. “We want wasteful spending controlled. People are working two jobs to pay their taxes.”

Fellow Pataskala resident Richard Fowler dressed up as Benjamin Franklin for the occasion.

“Nothing is assured except death and taxes,” said Fowler, taking a break from waiving a sign emblazoned with the slogan “no new taxes.”

All told, around 30 people braved a cold, late-afternoon drizzle to take part in the event.

They waived anti-tax signs and urged passing motorists to honk as they passed. Countless motorists obliged. Some even slowed to a crawl to flash thumbs-up signals.

Pataskala joined countless other communities across the country Wednesday in holding a tea party. Organizers viewed the grass-roots effort as a way to protest taxes and excessive spending.

Former Councilman Mike Fox helped organize Wednesday’s event in Pataskala.

Although city council has discussed placing a police operating levy and police building issue on the November ballot, Fox on Wednesday tried to distance the local tea party from that discussion.

“The city of Pataskala doesn’t even have anything on the ballot yet,” he said.

Instead, Fox said he and his fellow organizers wanted to use the tea party to protest spending practices on the local, state and federal level.

“We’re protesting the increases in taxes across the board,” he said. “We feel there’s some awful spending practices going on.”

Fox specifically pointed to the state “death tax” and federal capital gains tax.

“If you ask the general person on the street if they want a death tax, the answer would be no,” Fox said.

Although the original Boston Tea Party took place because colonists were fighting taxation without representation, Wednesday’s event remained relevant, Fox said, because modern elected officials are not listening to the voters who placed them in office.

Etna Township resident Dallas Maynard expressed a similar fear at the event. He also expressed concerns regarding how the government spends his tax dollars.

“I don’t mind paying my taxes, but I mind giving them to someone who won’t work,” Maynard said.

Ohio: Silent majority has its day across nation

“We voted them into office, and we can vote them out again.”

That’s the message Bob Schultz, one of the speakers at Ashtabula County’s TEA Party, sent to elected officials from the steps of Ashtabula County’s old courthouse Wednesday afternoon, where a crowd estimated at 200 to 350 gathered to protest everything from gun control and abortion to the nation’s $11-trillion debt.

“Beginning today, we are serving our leaders notice that we are mad as hell, we’re watching them and if they fail to listen to us, we will hold them accountable at the ballot box,” Schultz told the crowd.

The Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party was one of at 2,049 planned for the United States, according to the Web site, The American Family Association sponsored the events, which found favor with followers of conservative broadcast commentator Glenn Beck and the 9-12 Project, as well as others.

“Once you pull back the curtain, you realize that there are only a few people pressing the buttons and that their voices are weak. The truth is, they don’t us surround us at all, we surround them,” said April Sabo of the 9-12 Project.

“Today really could be the start of the second American Revolution,” said Schultz.

The party was non-partisan, but Democrats were clearly in the cross hairs of protesters whose signs dropped everything from Ashtabula County’s lodge debt to a dismal future at the party’s feet. Republicans were likewise under fire.

“The biggest problem with the Republicans is they are letting it happen and doing nothing about it,” said James Von Tesmar of Ashtabula, who warned that Barrack Obama is taking the United States down the road to “fascism.”

“Remember, we are capitalists, money runs our country and the world. This government has already taken over a large portion of our banking, automobile, insurance. They already run our passenger rail system. The newspapers, TV stations, magazines are singing the praises of Obama,” said Von Tesmar as the crowd booed the name “Obama.”

The local rally was put together by Al and Tammy Roesch of Kingsville and Melanie Busch of Ashtabula. The organizers were upbeat about the response to the event, especially given the cold temperatures and rain.

“I thought things went really well, especially considering the rain,” said Busch, who estimated the crowd at 300.

The Roesch family continued their support for the effort by attending the Cleveland TEA Party immediately after the one in Jefferson. Tammy Roesch estimated the Jefferson crowd at 350 or larger.

They were united by one big issue that weighs on every American’s mind: April 15: taxes.

“I don’t like the way my money is being spent,” said Adriane Marrison in explaining why she, her daughter-in-law and three grandchildren endured the rain to be a part of the event.

Bernadette Wheeler of Willoughby protested from her wheelchair.

“I came to say the government is spending far too much of our money and I’m getting tired of it,” she said.

Ron Craddock of Ashtabula held a sign that said, “Impeach them all and let God sort them out.” He said he voted against every incumbent in the last election, but is still unhappy with the direction both the country and country have taken. “Right now, I’m just disgusted with the whole lot of them,” he said.

Schultz, who served as mayor of Rock Creek, said lower taxes and lower spending, not government bailouts, would revive the economy. He spent a portion of his time promoting the fair tax concept (

While the focus was primarily on national issues, the speakers and crowd also had the county’s budget crisis on their minds. Jason Keeler, an Iraq War veteran, said commissioners ought to abolish the Convention Facilities Authority (CFA), and direct the bed tax toward reducing the lodge debt rather than funding the CFA Schultz encouraged the crowd to send the message “leave the sheriff’s department alone,” referring to appropriation cuts commissioners made Tuesday.

Speakers, organizers and participants said they want to continue the momentum created by the TEA Party events, all the way to the next election.

“We need to tell our representatives that ‘We’re the ones you represent, not the special-interest groups or lobbyists that are padding their wallets.’ Listen up Ashtabula County, listen up Columbus, Ohio, listen up Washington D.C. If you don’t listen to us, some of you are going to find yourselves unemployed,” Schultz said.

New Mexico: Thousands attend tea party protest in ABQ

A vocal crowd of over a thousand people gathered near Montgomery and Louisiana Boulevard in Albuquerque to protests the federal government's spending habits.

Retired teacher Yvonne Estrada gave up her bowling night to join thousands of other New Mexicans Wednesday who turned out to voice their concerns about the economy and the federal government's spending habits.

Estrada says she's worried about where America is headed. She joined a march of several hundred people along a busy Albuquerque street during rush hour. Her sign read "I am not your ATM." Estrada says she wouldn't have any money in her checking account if she ran things the way Congress does.

Organizers of the event say about 3,000 people showed up to express their opinion about the government.

Residents in more than a dozen other New Mexico communities joined in Wednesday's "tea parties" to protest the way the federal government spends taxpayer money.

There were rallies from Las Cruces and Artesia north to Santa Fe and Aztec.

Texas: Local protesters stage Austin 'tea party'

It's Tax Day, and while people were busy filing last-minute tax forms, many others hit the streets to protest the federal government and its spending.

One such "tea party" protest took place at Austin City Hall, attracting hundreds of area residents.

Protesters said they oppose high taxes, careless government spending and stimulus and bailout packages.

"Our government is running mindlessly, blindly and with overt deafness to our voices," protester Todd Maraist said. "I would like to see the whole Congress tossed out. Let's start from scratch. We need a revolt."

Participants rallied before Gov. Rick Perry emphasized that Washington should rein in some of the spending and bailout money.

This criticism comes after Perry rejected more than $550 million of federal stimulus money to fund unemployment insurance. Perry did, however, accept roughly $17 billion of the federal package for other purposes.

"I'm not sure you're a bunch of right wing extremists, but if you are, I'm with you," said Gov. Rick Perry.

Don't assume, by the crowd that those in attendance were strictly Republicans and Perry supporters. Several people said they blamed both Democrats and Republicans for the current economic situation. Several said they were critical of state leadership, as well.

"Anger and frustration at what both political parties have delivered to America," protester Judy Morris said.

The Texas Democratic Party says concern about the economy makes sense but Perry's political tea talk doesn't. They say he's accepting a large amount of the federal stimulus money for Texas and has raised taxes on small businesses.

"Politicians like Rick Perry are taking advantage of that concern and hijacking these events in to political events," said Kirsten Gray, spokesperson for the Texas Democratic Party.

Austin wasn't the only city with a Tax Day protest. Demonstrations stretched from coast to coast, including the home of the original tea party, Boston, Mass.

Organizers of this year's events said they are upset about government spending since President Barack Obama's administration took office.

Other cities' "tea parties" were a little more focused. For example, in Kentucky, protesters rallied against recently passed tax increases on cigarettes and alcohol. And, in South Carolina the governor criticized the stimulus package.

Kansas: TEA party draws about 500 protesters

Beka Romm had brought 300 fliers with her to Salina, and they were gone just 20 minutes after the crowd started to gather Wednesday in the commons between the Salina Public Library and the City-County Building. Some 200 more were quickly printed and given out, so Romm estimated 500 people had gathered to protest the tax-and-spend — or is it borrow-and-spend, or borrow-and-stimulate, or borrow-and-bail — policies of the federal government. The Salina TEA Party was one of hundreds organized around the country on the deadline for filing income tax returns, and it was one of several that Romm, of Topeka, a political activist who grew up in Bennington, was planning to attend. The events were inspired by the Boston Tea Party, an early event in the American Revolution, with “TEA” an acronym for “Taxed enough already.” Many in the crowd carried signs with such sayings as “Don’t Tread on Me,” “Give us Liberty, not debt,” and “Obama and Pelosi, the Detrimental Duo.” Though a few in the crowd hollered things like, “No politicians, I don’t want to hear from any politicians,” it was mostly politicians or their representatives who spoke.

Connecticut: Thousands protest on tax filing deadline

SHELTON -- It wasn't exactly Boston Harbor back in 1773, but nearly 10,000 embittered state residents took part in a nationwide Tax Day Tea Party on the day their taxes were due.

They protested in downtown Shelton, on the Green in New Haven and on the north steps of the Capitol in Hartford. Others gathered in Greenwich and New Milford.

They brought tea bags, sang "God Bless America" and shouted demands they hope the General Assembly and Congress will hear.

Among those attending were Karen Palange, of Monroe, who fears her 13-year-old daughter, Kyra, is going to be saddled with an enormous tax burden over the next several decades; Catherine DiQuattro, a Shelton retiree, who wants to see Congress kicked out; and Donald and Sandra Regan, of Oxford, who want term limits placed on all our elected officials.

There was Ed Hunt, a UPS driver from Shelton, who fears more and more jobs are going to be lost overseas; Anne Smith, of Beacon Falls, who was upset the state imposed sales tax on raw materials used and that it could drive small manufacturers out of Connecticut; and Faye Elie, who brought her eight-year-old daughter, Rachel, to experience free speech.

"I'm definitely voting against all incumbents," said Faye Elie. "I just want to see a plain old Joe run for office -- someone who loves America and wants to take care of it."

The Tea Party events were a way for people to gather and vent their displeasure on uncontrolled governmental
spending and the stimulus package, they believe, did little to create jobs but a lot to feed unnecessary pet projects.

They were part of a nationwide Republican effort to publicize the growing federal deficit, which topped a trillion dollars by the time President Barack Obama was sworn in and has sharply increased in the effort to stimulate the economy.

"If we have to tighten our belts, then government has to tighten their belt," maintained Karen Palange. "The stimulus package was supposed to be creating jobs. Have you heard of any jobs being created? I've heard about millions being spent on studying an endangered mouse in California."

"It's not a stimulus bill," added her daughter, a well-versed, home-schooled eighth-grader. "It's a spendulous bill filled with wasteful spending. No one in Congress had a chance to read it before voting on it."

"What has Congress done in the past 30 years except spend our money and dig us deeper into debt?" added DiQuattro.

Nearly 100 residents from as far as Southport and Middlebury gathered in Shelton. They paid $1 to cover expenses, brought a tea bag and signed a petition which will be given to their state and federal legislators. They carried signs, four of which were designed by Jake Holzman, a 13-year-old Beacon Falls eighth-grader.

One read, "I didn't read the bill either. Then again, I'm not spending others' $$$."

In Shelton, Anthony Simonetti, a Republican alderman who represents the first ward, and Ronald Jeffrey Holzman, a retired U.S. Navy officer from Beacon Falls, organized the event. "We want people to tell their representatives to do the right thing," Simonetti said.

Simonetti said there are plans to conduct another event around July 4 and then before the November elections. "We want to be heard in Washington and Hartford," he said.

The scene was the same at the Capitol where nearly 3,000 protesters vented their anger in a noontime rally with some carrying signs that read: "Stop Forcing Bank Takeover," "Stop the uncontrolled spending" and "I'll Keep my jobs, guns and money and you keep the change."

Rick Rothstein, a 57-year-old unemployed CPA and one of the event's organizers, said government spending is the culprit. "Today we have a specific theme," Rothstein said. "Repeal the pork and cut taxes and spending."

As the mostly middle-aged and older crowd of protesters arrived in Hartford, they signed registration sheets and were offered fresh tea bags from boxes of Shop Rite premium tea. "What we've seen in recent years is an explosion in spending at the federal level, state level and local level," Rothstein added. "People have been upset for a while."

He said as the economy has worsened, families around the country have had to tighten their belts, while government spending continues to escalate. "We've just had enough,"

he said.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell agreed.

"People have had it, and they are letting their collective voices be heard here in Hartford and across the state," the governor said in a prepared statement. "As I have said repeatedly, the bloat of bureaucracy is no longer affordable. It is time to get back to basics."

She said the economic landscape is a chance to remake state government.

"To stop the exponential annual growth that is no longer affordable," Rell said, "we must do what every family across our state has been doing -- cutting back and doing more with less. My budget for the next fiscal year is actually lower than our budget this fiscal year. I am proud of that, and I am also proud of the fact that my budget contains no tax increases for the next two fiscal years. None. People cannot afford their taxes now. We should not add to their burdens."

Majority Democrats have complained that Rell's proposed two-year, $38.4 billion budget was unbalanced by two billion dollars.

Rep. John Geragosian, D-New Britain, co-chairman of the General Assembly's budget setting Appropriations Committee, was in a closed-door Democratic caucus at the time of the protest, but said in an interview the state has to continue its social services commitments.

"Obviously, I understand how they feel but we have a responsibility to put forth a budget with the services people of Connecticut need," he said. "I've been a lawmaker for 20 years and I've voted both to cut and raise taxes. It's more fun to cut taxes, but we have the responsibility to continue those services and put us in a better position for the future."

Utah: Tax protesters gather at Utah federal building

More than 1,000 protesters gathered outside a downtown federal building in the rain and snow on Wednesday to complain about what they say is Congressional spending that's out of control.

The protest comes on the day income taxes are due and is part of a national movement designed to echo the original Boston Tea Party, which occurred more than 235 years ago.

Holding a cardboard sign that read "Pin the tail on the jacka$$", with a picture of President Barack Obama on a Democratic donkey, Kate Maloney said Congress is threatening small businesses like hers.

She runs, and said she's recently had to lay off 10 of her 33 workers.

"I want to get back my way of life again," she said. "Right now things change too much."

Many at the rally decried Congress for approving the $787 billion economic stimulus package. Utah will directly receive about $1.5 billion in stimulus funds, but many in the crowd of umbrellas and placards booed Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman for accepting the money.

Cherilyn Eagar, who runs an Internet marketing company, led the crowd in a chant of "Send it back."

"We don't need the money," she said. "It's on top of what we already have."

Without the federal stimulus money, thousands of additional state employees likely would have been laid off and scores of state programs would have been scaled back even further.

Construction on some road projects to help the state's ailing infrastructure that were paid for with stimulus money has already begun.

Speakers included Republican Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and GOP U.S. Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Rob Bishop, who voted against the bailout.

"No more bailouts, no more stimulus," Chaffetz said. "It's just fundamentally wrong."

While Chaffetz has pledged not to request any spending earmarks, Bishop has requested dozens of projects worth more than $4 billion.

Michelle Barlow, a stay-at-home Taylorsville mom, said she was disgusted with how much money Congress is spending.

"It started with Bush and it's just gotten worse with Obama," she said. "The $12 trillion in spending in the last six months really enrages me."

In an open letter to state residents that noted the protests, U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, wrote that "taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society."

"It is not that we have to pay taxes that brings you all here today, bur rather the fact that we have to pay so much. Simply put, the federal government should spend less so that we are not taxed so much. However, under the proposed budget of President Obama and the Democratic Majority in Congress, we are moving in the wrong direction," he wrote.

Wyoming: Cheyenne protesters join anti-tax rallies

HEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Protesters gathered at the Wyoming Capitol to join other disgruntled residents across the country who seized upon tax day to voice their concern over government spending and debt.

As Americans face a Wednesday deadline to file their personal income taxes, about 300 people participated in the "Cheyenne Tax Day Tea Party."

Similar protests around the nation are meant to echo the rebellion of the Boston Tea Party. Organizers say there were also rallies in Casper, Sheridan, Buffalo, Gillette, Jackson, Cody, Green River and Laramie.

Along with criticizing government debt, the Cheyenne protesters also railed against bailouts of private banks and companies, the Federal Reserve System, spending on social programs and gun control.

Organizers of the Cheyenne event say they held the event independent of any political party or other organization.

On the Net: Cheyenne Tax Day Tea Party,