Written By Matt Dixon, Daily Sun – Reprinted with permission.
Tea Parties Protest Excessive Government Taxing, Spending. Villages event coincides with nationwide rally.
THE VILLAGES – Joining millions of people across the country, Villagers toting handmade signs and displaying grass-roots enthusiasm gathered in the Lake Mira Mar area Wednesday.
Their concern? American’s tax policies and what they claim is elected officials’ spendthrift mentality.
“We’re tired of too many taxes and too much spending,” said Dan Weber of Harbor Hills, who organized the “Tax Day Tea Party” in The Villages.
An estimated 3,000 similar events were held across the nation. The Villages’ event was sponsored by the Association of Mature American Citizens, which describes itself as a conservative alternative to AARP.
Timed to coincide with April 15 – the final day to file income-tax returns – and named after the iconic 1773 Boston Tea Party, The Villages event drew more than 1,000 protesters.
“We want politicians to take their hands off banks, the government and taxes; the United States people can spend their money better than the government can,” an animated Joanne Salerno, A Village of Poinciana resident, said after the rally.
The event featured a band and speakers, who mounted a small, elevated platform to address those in attendance.
“It was a great crowd; you know, it was good grass-roots action,” said Gary Breeden, chairman of the Sumter County Board of County Commissioners, in an interview after the event.
Breeden said he disagrees with many of the decisions elected officials make at the federal level.
“I don’t agree with many of the things happening in Washington right now,” he said. “I think they should have to balance the budget; at the local level, we are required to.”
Fellow Sumter Commissioner Doug Gilpin, another speaker Wednesday, agreed.
“I think (today’s rally is) representative of the feeling of the people; people from all walks of life and all political persuasions were there,” Gilpin said.
He said Wednesday’s rally crossed party lines.
“I talked to people from every political persuasion, independent, Democrat, Republican…. They just came up and said thanks,” he said.
Organizers tossed boxes into Lake Mira Mar; written on them were political statements such as “Congressional Blend” and “TARP Tea.” The boxes were removed after the rally.
TARP is an acronym for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, in which the federal government purchased $700 billion in troubled, or “toxic,” assets from ailing financial institutions.
“It is just a way to protest excessive spending on the part of the government; they should not spend money we don’t have,” Weber said.
Matt Dixon is a reporter with the Daily Sun. He can be reached at (352) 753-1119, ext. 9089, or [email protected].
Reprinted by The Association of Mature American Citizens with the author’s permission, and permission of The Daily Sun.