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Published: 4/16/2009

Crowd lets off steam over rising taxes

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER
Protesters at Toledo's Tea Party in International Park decried the bailout, big spending, and taxes. Protesters at Toledo's Tea Party in International Park decried the bailout, big spending, and taxes.
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About 1,000 people gathered in International Park for the event. About 1,000 people gathered in International Park for the event.
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Arthur Graham, a World War II veteran, salutes during the Pledge of Allegiance as a prelude to Toledo s version of Tax Day Tea Party in International Park. Arthur Graham, a World War II veteran, salutes during the Pledge of Allegiance as a prelude to Toledo s version of Tax Day Tea Party in International Park.
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A crowd estimated by organizers at about 1,000 vented outrage at rising taxation and other issues in the Tax Day Tea Party yesterday in International Park.

A chilly rain fell during the nearly two hours of speeches aimed at forces believed to be taking the United States toward socialism, gun control, and crushing debt.

Organizer Tricia Lyons of Toledo said her concern was for "the rights that I see are slowly being stripped from us.

"I'm concerned with the bailouts, the spending packages that are being shoved down our throats without us having a say-so," she said.

U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) closed the rally with a speech panning President Obama's first budget as creating too much taxation, spending, and borrowing.

He told the crowd not to worry about their small numbers. "It was only a handful of people that got this country started, so let your voices be heard," Mr. Latta said.

Former Toledo police Chief Jack Smith whipped up the crowd.

"We're for the same purpose. That's to raise a loud and angry voice to those that would use the evil of excessive taxation and uncontrolled spending to put forth social, political, and economic policies that fly in the very face of what this country stands for," Mr. Smith said.

He identified those policies as threats to gun-ownership rights, national sovereignty, and "one-world socialist view."

"I am sick and tired of some of our leaders who face the world with their hat in their hands, begging for forgiveness for the path America's taken," Mr. Smith said.

Two Republican candidates spoke: Kevin Coughlin, a state senator from Cuyahoga County who is running for governor, and mayoral hopeful Jim Moody.

Mr. Moody cited a list of revenue increases proposed by Mayor Carty Finkbeiner to get the city out of a $27.7 million deficit, saying, "That's why we can't get jobs in Toledo."

Mr. Coughlin told the crowd President Obama wants to eliminate the charity deduction for higher-income Americans.

"He's trying to choke out that private charity we have and replace it with government action," Mr. Coughlin said.

Toledo gun-rights activist Carol Greenburg held up a copy of the Constitution. "You might as well send it to Iran or China or Russia, because the people in D.C. aren't using it," she said as she warned of coming gun-control efforts.

Similar gatherings were held around nationwide. Held on the day income tax returns are due, the event was modeled after the Boston Tea Party in which colonists protested a British tax on tea.

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

Texas Gov. Rick Perry fired up a tea party at Austin City Hall with his stance against the federal government, as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, "Secede!"

There were several small counterprotests, including one that drew about a dozen people at

Fountain Square in Cincinnati. A counterprotester held a sign that read, "Where were you when Bush was spending billions a month 'liberating' Iraq?" The anti-tax demonstration there drew about 4,000 people.

The tea parties were promoted by FreedomWorks, a conservative nonprofit advocacy group in Washington led by former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas.

Ron Rothenbuhler, Lucas County Democratic Party chairman, said he could empathize with the outrage at growing national debt.

"I really do think it's the people looking at the fact that our grandchildren are going to be in debt for the resurgence of our economy, like it or not," Mr. Rothenbuhler said, adding that they have the right to hold a protest rally.

After the speeches, a smaller group marched across the Maumee River to rally outside One Government Center.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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