"History affords us many instances of the ruin of states, by the prosecution of measures ill suited to the temper and genius of their people. The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy... These measures never fail to create great and violent jealousies and animosities between the people favored and the people oppressed; whence a total separation of affections, interests, political obligations, and all manner of connections, by which the whole state is weakened."
"To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it."
--Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, 6 April 1816
IOWA CITY, IA. -- Frustrated with out-of-control government, about 400 people rallied together on the Burlington Street bridge, waving flags, carrying signs, and dumping "tea" into the Iowa River in protest. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) prohibited the dumping of all natural loose leaf tea into the river, so dechlorinated water was symbolically dumped instead. Ironic isn't it? The government protesting a Constitutionally protected protest....
The event was motivated by a proposed local option sales tax which would tax Johnson County residents for acts of Mother Nature, in an attempt by officials to prevent her from ever flooding again. That vote is May 5. Perhaps siding with common sense and not arrogance, Mother Nature provided a sunny sky and a very pleasant breeze for the demonstration.
Christopher Reed, who ran against liberal Democrat Tom Harkin for Iowa's junior U.S. Senate seat in the 2008 election, MC'd the event. Introducing an array of grassroots speakers, Reed handed off his bullhorn to a mom, a hunter, a small business owner and a college student, all conveying a message of frustration with excessive taxation and out-of-control government.
"Elected officials in Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty, and Johnson County are asking us to voluntarily agree to increase sales taxes on our families by 16 percent for the next four years." Said Deb Thornon, Chair of 'Ax The Tax.'
In her speech to the crowd she continued, "How much higher can taxes go?" Johnson County workers already pay the highest county taxes in the state, at over $820 per person, or almost $3,300 per family of four."
Another member of 'Ax The Tax', Arleigh Clemens of Coralville said officials should "go to the source of the problem" regarding the flooding and dredge the Coralville Reservoir. Do that "instead of spending millions of dollars on flood-mitigation efforts," he said.
Members of the tax-hike opposition group 'Ax The Tax' were lined up on both sides of the bridge, handing out flyers, buttons, and T-shirts conveying a "Taxed Enough Already" message.
In addition to the local message, participants let out some steam and voiced their concerns with governance at the state and federal levels as well. The Iowa City Tea Party was one of over 2,000 conducted today in cities across the nation, in all states from Maine to Hawaii.
From Greg Baker, a University of Iowa student, "Today, people can be reminded that America is a democracy. The people are the boss not the president, governor, or representatives. It's the American people. If they are tired of paying taxes and don't want them raised then the government should listen. I think Americans expressed today that they are taxed enough already."
Several signs and slogans were on display such as:
Stop The Spending!
Gov. Get Out Of My Pockets!
Tax On Top Of Tax
Need $20 Million? Repeal The Conservation Bond
Nickled & Dimed To Death
Good Money After Bad
Keep Your Hands Out Of My Kid's Pockets!
Government Treats Taxpayer Like ATM
Cars driving by honked their horns in clear support of the rally. The crowd was well-behaved and passer's by for the most part were intrigued by the event, with many happily taking informational handouts.
One of the speakers for the event, Debra Derkson of Iowa City addressed the crowd with, "The government works for us, We do not answer to them, they answer to us. We believe the Government is far too big already. The idea of bailouts to banks & corporations are not acceptable."
One gentleman who wouldn't identify himself and appeared to be a student, was making his way down the north sidewalk in a fruitless attempt (to him) to *debate* with participants (written lightly, it was more like he was just trying to talk down to folks and point his finger in peoples' chests) as if rally go'ers were just ranting and against all taxes. "You people lost the election, get over yourselves," he snipped. He was given enthusiastic - from the heart responses - from everyone he tried to engage. He was told that tea party protestors understand SOME taxes are necessary for good roads, clean water, police/fire protection and the like. It was explained to the student that he was missing the whole point (intentionally?) failing to consider the excessive taxes, the out-of-control spending, and the default by elected officials to constantly increase taxes to pay for that want vs. need spending and improper roles of government.
At the conclusion of the rally, some protestors marched to the Johnson County Auditor’s Office to cast early votes against the local option sales tax.
Despite the date, what a beautiful day in America.
According to a recent article in the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Iowa City employees spent more than $400,000 on travel in 2008.
Below are a few examples of how city offices did NOT reserve rooms with the taxpayer in mind. You would think that during these lean economic times, that with flood recovery needs in mind - such lavish accomodations would not be pursued. Why does government pretend it's a business?
Mar 9 - 14
Sep 13 - 19
Info Tech Services
Apr 26 - May 1
Info Tech Services
Nov 9 - 13
May 30 - Jun 5
Apr 26 - May 1
Mar 30 - Apr 3
Crowne Plaza/New Orleans
Total these 7 examples
Average Nightly Rate
Caesars Palace? Mandalay Bay? A completely reasonable room could be had for about half the nightly rates at those places. And don't buy into the City Manager Michael Lombardo line of crap about how sending an employee to a lower-priced hotel might not be worth it if it results in higher transportation costs. That's absolute b.s. (barabara streisand). An average nights stay at the Hard Rock Cafe just off the Vegas strip is about $99. Nice accomodations and about a five minute cab ride from Caesars Palace.
To repeat, the city spent more than $400,000 on travel in 2008. Your local government has been treating you like an ATM! They spend your money like drunken sailors and they have the nerve to come asking you to approve a local option sales tax on May 5th? Kudos to the city for FINALLY recognizing that they have a drunken sailor spending problem, but WHAT TOOK SO LONG? How long has this bad habit been allowed Regina Bailey? How many firemen hires has this cost the city? One could easily argue that city is only pretending to be penny-wise now to present a better image until the LOST vote on May 5th - they want that local option sales tax passed folks, they want more of your money.