In recent years on Tax Day (observed this year on Tuesday because April 15 came on a Sunday), Tea Party groups have held rallies in the Bay area to tout their agenda of reducing excessive federal spending (forget the fact that under Barack Obama, Americans are paying the smallest share of their income for taxes since 1958).
But this Tax Day in Florida saw groups affiliated with the pro-Labor organization Americans Want to Work holding rallies across the Sunshine State, spurred on by the Occupy movement's attacks on inequality. Protest sites included the U.S. Post Office on 1st Avenue North in St. Petersburg and Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa, from which 15 activists marched to the Bank of America building on Kennedy and Tampa streets.
The protest came a day after the U.S. Senate rejected a proposal by the Obama administration on the "Buffett rule," a key initiative that would require that taxpayers pay at least 30 percent in taxes on all income above $1 million, even if the income is from investments, which generally are taxed at a lower rate than regular wages.
One of the organizers of the event, Christopher Radulich with MoveOn.org, said he doesn't believe the "Buffett rule" goes far enough. "I believe all income should be taxed equally , whether it’s capital gains dividends, interest, or W-2 wages. It’s been proven that taxing capital gains at a lesser rate accomplishes nothing. Whether you tax it high or tax it low, economic growth has been the same in this country for the past 50 years," he said, saying he got his information from Forbes, which he pointed out is hardly a progressive publication.
Radulich also says he believes that the Bush tax cuts, due to expire this December, should be rescinded for all, and not allowed to continue for those making under $250,000, a signature campaign pledge made by Barack Obama before getting elected in 2008.
Activist Jim Shirk agreed. He said he was still upset that the president wilted a year and a half ago when he agreed on a compromise with Republicans to keep the tax cuts going until the end of this year.
He was walking around with a sign saying that he paid more taxes last year than General Electric. One of the nation’s largest corporations, G.E. paid nothing in taxes last year, despite billions of dollars in profits.
After speaking to the media for a few minutes, the activists then walked down Ashley Drive before turning east on Kennedy to march to the Bank of America.
In an indication as the Republican National Convention gets closer that the Tampa Police are more on alert, no fewer than nine police officers were waiting for them, as well as an official with the bank who demanded that the protesters not trample on private property.
One activist tried to engage an officer in a dialogue, repeatedly asking him what the TPD had been told about the protest. The officer remained steadfast, repeating like a mantra that he was just there to "keep the peace."