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Tax me not


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POSTED: Thursday, April 16, 2009

A boisterous crowd of mostly Republican tax protesters at the state Capitol yesterday condemned taxes from all levels of government.

“;People are just tired of government telling people what to do and tired of government bailing out failing businesses,”; said Adrienne King, an attorney and GOP member.

The anti-tax rally was sponsored by the Hawaii Republican Party, the Grassroot Institute and an offshoot of the GOP called the Hawaii Republican Assembly. It was the end point for a national day of tax rallies staged around the April 15 federal income tax filing deadline.

Landscape contractor Kevin Mulkern complained that he had to borrow to pay his taxes this year.

“;I don't mind paying my taxes, but I don't want to be propping up or bailing out businesses that are going out of business,”; Mulkern said.

There was a festival atmosphere along the front steps of the Capitol as the crowd, which state deputy sheriffs estimated to be about 500, dressed in Uncle Sam costumes, waved tea bags to recall the Boston Tea Party tax protest of 1773 and painted their faces to resemble the American flag.

Speaking to the crowd, Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R, Kaneohe-Kailua) said the crowd should carefully watch the state Legislature, which is readying a series of tax increases to make up the state budget shortfall.

“;They want to tax your pensions — and that is unbelievably cruel,”; Thielen said, singling out Senate Bill 971 as the worst tax bill of the session.

Rep. Kymberly Pine (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) said the total value of the proposed state tax increases under consideration this year is more than $4 billion. “;They (Democrats) want to raise your taxes and make you pay,”; Pine told the crowd.

Hawaii Democratic Party Chairman Brian Schatz offered a counterpoint, saying the tax program endorsed by President Obama and supported by Democrats in Congress would offer relief.

Schatz said 95 percent of all working families would get a tax break, with 70 percent of the tax benefits going to the middle 60 percent of all American workers.