Tax Day Press Release — posted April 10, 2015
Check out our TV and radio interviews, and a variety of articles and letters to the editor.
Redirection reports. Over $40,000 in announced redirections — probably thousands more!
Action Reports and Photos
Denver, Colorado • Brattleboro, Vermont • Portland, Oregon • New York, New York • Eugene, Oregon • Colorado Springs, Colorado • Media, Pennsylvania • Austin, Texas • Southern California • Chicago, Illinois • Maine • Princeton, New Jersey • Tucson, Arizona
Penny poll in Denver Penny poll on April 15 at Dr. Fosberry’s Tax Day Carnival, organized by Warm Cookies of the Revolution. “I was surprised how engaged people get trying to figure out how they should spend their pennies. We put a pile of oreos behind each category showing the percentage that is presently spent and having the handouts to explain this breakdown. People kept eating the military oreos and finally I realized it was better not to keep replacing them! Here are our penny results — all evening people kept asking ‘when will we know who won?’ See our Facebook page about the event.”
|115||Energy, Environment, Science|
|90||Food & Agriculture + Housing & Cmty|
|56||Social Security, Unemployment & Labor|
|30||Interest on the debt + Government|
Pioneer Valley War Tax Resisters in front of the Brattleboro Food Coop. At the table, from left to right, Loren Kramer, Aaron Falbel, Daniel Sicken with the guitar, Dave Butler with mandolin in the background and Kathleen Simms with the tripod. Photos by Eesha Williams for ValleyPost.org.
To celebrate tax day in Portland, we had our annual Redirection program… We “re-routed” thousands of dollars to five different groups including St. Lukes Veteran’s Bridge Fund, which helps returning vets get on their feet financially (something the federal government fails to do). Overall, another successful tax day, raising awareness of where our tax dollars go, and re-routing some of that money! —Kima Garrison
Left: Pam Allee presents a check to Becky Luening of the Vietnam Friendship Village. Right: Mike Hastie, Vietnam vet, shows the audience some of his photos from his collection.
Tax day “Burma Shave-style” on the Bridges. Left, John Grueshow on the bridge on a beautiful Portland day! About 16 people turned out to cover three bridges during morning rush hour…
New York, New York
On April 15 about 20 people turned out during a blustery day with signs, WRL pie charts, banners, buttons, and songs at the IRS’s new stealth location (in tall Federal office building with nary a sign noting an IRS presence) near City Hall in Manhattan. However, a captive audience represented by a long line of people (struggling to keep their forms from blowing all over lower Manhattan) provided a clue to what awaited inside past the metal detectors and security. Among the groups represented were the War Resisters League, Raging (and loudly singing!) Grannies, Mennonites, Peace Action.
From Lane County Taxes for Peace Not War
We gathered at the downtown Eugene post office, where war tax resisters have gathered since Vietnam War days. Co-sponsors this year were CALC (Community Alliance of Lane County), WAND (Women’s Action for New Directions), and ESSN (Eugene-Springfield Solidarity Network).
Our centerpiece was the annual Penny Poll that proved once again that we don’t want to pay for war. We had numerous printed signs proclaiming “I’d rather pay for _____________ than war.” People could fill in their choice and take the signs home to place in their yards and hold at demonstrations.
Raging Grannies opened the noon rally, followed by presentations of redirected taxes, written as personal checks to about 25 groups, many of whom came to receive them. It was great to have a group of students from Wellsprings Friends School, one of the recipients, present. One student sang a solo about homelessness. We donated a total of $2092.50 this year.
Sue Barnhart from our group explained her reasons for not paying her federal taxes. WAND unrolled an “accurately” crafted banner depicting the federal discretionary budget (within two or three billion dollars). ESSN vigorously touted the $15 an hour demonstrations that were occurring around the country. This was an especially good year for labor solidarity. We ended with labor singer Mark Ross and Wobbly singer Scott Fife.
We could have had a bigger crowd, but it all felt good, and was covered by some media.
— Peg Morton; Photos by Susan Cundiff
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Bill Sulzman handles the leafleting while the others handle the banner at the downtown post office in Colorado Springs. The Colorado Springs Gazette ran a photo of the group on April 16. Photos by Donna Johnson.
April 15 and back from the Media P.O. and handing out pie charts that show that close to half our federal budget is allocated to military-related expenditures. I instead proposed more monies for education (e.g., free college for those who would benefit), healthcare and infrastructure. Best agreement was when I said we should use military money to fix our potholes.
On Tax Day, CodePink Austin reprised our Human Penny Poll, dressing in costume to represent 5 categories of government spending. We held the poll in the entertainment district near a statue of Willie Nelson, where folks were gathering to attend an Austin City Limits taping. In street theatre fashion, each Penny Poll character clamored for more funding (“Freedom isn’t Free!” said War. “Don’t listen to her – she lies!” said Environment…) There was positive, spirited interaction with voters, and, as always, Education (27.7% of the vote), Health Care (24%), Housing, Transportation and Infrastructure (23.6%) and Environment (21.7%) beat out War (3%) as public priorities. We handed out WRL pie-chart fliers to encourage voters to ask why actual spending is so contrary to the will of the people.
Susan Van Haitsma
As a celebration of my 70th birthday I decided to do my annual WRL Pie Chart leafleting at my usual drops. I always put batches of WRL pie chart flyers alongside the war tax forms in post offices and libraries in the area in which I happen to be living as April 15 approaches each year. I now live in Tijuana, Mexico, but make a monthly trip to the Pomona-Claremont area, east of Los Angeles. I gave myself extra time for the trip up and back to hit enough “drops” as needed to distribute my leaflets.
I had 700 flyers printed; that’s seven times my usual number (400 English, 300 Spanish) and made two runs to cover three POs and three libraries in the Claremont/La Verne/ San Dimas area. I covered the Whittier Library, post office and Friends Meeting (where I go when I visit the area). In San Juan Capistrano/Dana Point/San Clement I covered two libraries and four post offices. I got the post office, library and tourist information office in Oceanside (south gate of Camp Pendleton ). There were four post offices and two libraries in San Diego County on the way to drop off the rental car. I hit all the locations on Friday April 10th and hit them again on Monday April 13th on my trip home.
— Jerry Coffin
A rally with leafleting was held at Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago on April 15 with participation from Chicago War Resisters League, Chicago Area War Tax Resisters Support Group, and others. Joffre Stewart reports that he and Brad Lyttle were leafletting, Brad with the WRL pie chart. “As our presence grew, several placards showed up, one of them for a $15 minimum wage,” says Joffre. Various activists took the microphone to talk about better ways to spend tax dollars than on war.
A letter from Kathy Kelly was read. She was in prison for a protest against drones at the time. In part she wrote, “You’ll have an extraordinary chance to touch hearts and minds this tax day, through fliers, songs, and presence in the federal building plaza. I hope your witness will help unshackle all of us from addiction to war. How wonderful if future generations could sing, ‘It’s over now, the storm is over now,’ remembering war as a bygone scourge.”
— Brad Lyttle
Ellsworth and Belfast, Maine
On April 13, 14, and 15, Frank Donnelly passed out the Maine-Flyer at his post office in Ellsworth. For a small community he found it surprisingly busy and got out all 170 of his copies of the Maine flyer in short stints each day. He got a good response, although he’s trying to think of what to say when people who don’t know what you’re handing out refuse to take it immediately. He’s thinking of seeing if they respond to “Want a free trip to Hawaii?” as he holds the flyer out.
On a bright and sunny day in Belfast (left), Larry Dansinger and Lynne Rayburn set up their signs and table in front of the Belfast Food Co-op.Leafleting statewide was promoted by WTR Resource Center.
Princeton, New Jersey
The Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) today announced the results of its annual “Penny Poll” conducted in front of the Palmer Square Post Office from 12:00–1:30 p.m. on April 15, the deadline for filing federal income taxes. Below are the results of area residents would like to see their federal tax dollars spent.
As people came to the post office they were invited to express their opinion on how they would like their federal tax dollar to be spent.
Each of the 50 participants were given ten pennies and asked to distribute them between five tubes representing categories of federal spending: education, environment, health care, housing, and military. The results and some great photos are on their website (scroll down the page to the penny poll headline).
Participants were then handed a fact sheet showing that 57% of the “Discretionary Budget” for FY2014 was for military spending. Discretionary spending is what Congress can allocate for what it chooses each year, as distinct from entitlements. Discretionary Budget Funding for Education was just 6%, Health Care 5%; Environment 3%, and Housing 5%.
“This year’s results remain consistent with Penny Poll results from previous years. Taxpayers want more of their hard-earned tax dollars going to education, environment, and health care, and far less to military purposes. We encourage taxpayers to contact their US Representative and Senators to urge them to support more peaceful federal budget priorities,” said the Rev. Robert Moore, Executive Director of CFPA.
A small group of Tucson activists, including members of Tucson chapters of Veterans for Peace and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, vigiled outside of the main gate of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base on the morning of April 14. Their signs expressed the need for funds to meet human needs, not more drones, war and nuclear weapons.