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Published April 15, 2010, 07:31 AM

Minn. tea party protests govt. spending on Tax Day

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Members of the Minnesota tea party led a rally of several hundred outside of the state Capitol Thursday to protest federal government spending on the day income tax filings were due.

By: BRIANA BIERSCHBACH, Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Members of the Minnesota tea party led a rally of several hundred outside of the state Capitol Thursday to protest federal government spending on the day income tax filings were due.

A full slate of tea party leaders, musicians and radio hosts spoke for several hours about limiting government spending, repealing the health care overhaul and ousting certain elected officials in the fall elections.

"If you're unsure when you get to the voting booth as to what to do, don't vote for any incumbent," Leon Moe, a veteran and member of the Minnesota Tenth Amendment Center said to the crowd. "It may take us a cycle or two to take out the garbage, but we need to take the garbage out. We need to get the cesspools at the state levels cleaned out, and that should begin to drain the cesspools in Washington."

Rallies were held in at least 10 cities across the state, including Brainerd, Duluth, Mankato, Milaca, Rochester, Princeton and Winona.

Tax Day protests are a longtime tradition at the Capitol, but the tea party movement has taken the lead on the event in the last two years.

"The tea party gave me a venue and something to do at a time when I felt my country was slipping away," said 65-year-old John Panasuck of New London. "I don't mind paying taxes. I'd just like to see them used the same way I would use them."

Cole Johnson, a 25-year-old architect from Minneapolis, said he didn't align himself with any political group or the tea party. Instead, he said, he feels the government is being irresponsible and he enjoys being with people who feel the same way.

"It's good to be around people who are just as confused as I am about what's going on in this country," he said.

Lawmakers were scarce at the event. Only Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann addressed the crowd via speakerphone from Washington, D.C.

While organizers across the state heard rumblings of rally crashers, there were no visible signs of counter-protests in St. Paul. Protesters were armed with video cameras just in case anyone tried to disrupt the events.

American flags, tea party T-shirts and cardboard signs were abundant at the rally.

Lisa Erbes, 37, of Burnsville, carried sign that said: "You work for me and come November, you're fired!"

She said she decided to come to the Tax Day protest out of concern for her children.

"This is not just about today," she said. "This out of control spending is generational theft. This isn't the America I grew up in, and it's not the America I want my kids to grow up in."

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