BARSTOW • Barstow residents will be joining in a national Internet-based movement of Tax Day protests.
At least 700 cities nationwide will be hosting protests Wednesday, the day that tax returns are due, according to Eric Odom, one of the national organizers of the Tax Day protests and administrator of the TaxDayTeaParty.com Web site. Odom said the protests are not centrally sponsored by any one organization but are a collaboration of mostly Internet-based groups.
The Tax Day Tea Party theme was inspired by an on-air rant by CNBC on-air editor Rick Santelli in February, Odom said.
The Barstow Area Republican Caucus is organizing the local protest, which will be held Wednesday afternoon at Dana Park, but caucus president and former mayor of Barstow Lawrence Dale said it is intended to be a nonpartisan effort criticizing tax and spending levels at both the state and federal level.
A written statement by the protest organizers criticized the tax increases recently approved by the California legislature as well as spending by the Obama administration.
"It's time that the federal government and state government realize that what they expect of us, we expect of them — spend within your means," Dale said.
Odom, a self-described libertarian and director of the free market advocacy group DontGo Movement, said he had issues with the Bush administration's fiscal policies as well as the Obama administration.
"I've been hoping for something like this for several years," he said. "... I think the only difference now, and the reason so many people are willing to get involved in the conversation, is that the economy has plummeted to its current level."
Seeing the federal government spending tax dollars on bailing out "failed systems, failed companies, individuals and corporations that made bad decisions" spurred the current revolt, Odom said.
He said, however, that his group is not advocating that citizens should refuse to pay their taxes.
Carmen Hernandez, president of the local Mojave Valley Democratic Club, had not heard of the plans for a Tax Day protest but said she had no issue with the idea.
"This is America — it's freedom of speech," she said. "I don't see a problem with it."
Dale said to his knowledge, this year will mark the first time a Tax Day protest has been held in Barstow.
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Barstow's Tax Day Tea Party
When: Wednesday, April 15, 5 p.m.
Where: Dana Park, Barstow
For more information call Lawrence Dale at 760-252-5800 or Bob Vasseur at 760-257-3061