Sat 4/15 @ 11AM
Taxes are a contentious issue. While the very idea of paying any taxes has been demonized by the anti-government zealots on the far right and launched the Tea Party, it’s impossible to have a civilized and just society without them. We dislike taxes but complain endlessly about potholes and slow snow plowing.
It comes down to what are we willing to fund and what are we willing to sacrifice for lower taxes. And then, who pays? The conversation around these issues has grown louder as Republicans talk about “tax reform,” which nearly always means less taxes for the wealthy and less services for everyone else.
That conversation becomes particularly suspicion-raising coming from Donald Trump because, unlike every presidential candidate for the last 40 years, he has refused to release his tax returns. And more than any presidential candidate in the last 40 years, his extensive and sometimes shady business dealings have raised questions about what he has paid and whether any reforms he proposes will be tailored to benefit himself and shift the tax burden to ordinary working people. Remember when the question was raised during the presidential debate and he responded to an accusation that he hadn’t paid income taxes in 20 years by saying “That’s because I’m smart.” Sadly, average working people could be brilliant but they lack the access to the same types of loopholes that those who inherited wealth like Trump have.
The Tax Days Marches happening across the country, including Cleveland, were triggered by Trump’s refusal to release his taxes to reveal how tax code changes might benefit him personality but have taken on a broader agenda: how the tax code and distribution of resources meets the needs of regular working people rather than benefiting large corporations and billionaires. Ohioans have a particularly urgent reason for addressing this issue, following six years in which Governor Kasich and the Republicans in the Ohio legislature have lavished tax breaks on the state’s wealthiest citizens and pushed the bill off on the rest of us in the form of local property, income and sales tax increases made necessary by state cuts to local governments.
In Cleveland, folks will rally at 11am at the Free Stamp in Willard Park. At 11:30, they will march to and encircle the Federal Building before heading to the Cleveland State Student Center Atrium at noon where there will be speakers and information tables. Participants are invited to bring letters addressed to senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman telling them what your priorities are for spending tax money.
Those letters will be delivered on Tax Day April 18. If you’d like to be in that delegation, meet at 10:45am in front of the Federal Building to deliver letters to Portman’s office and at 12:30pm, in front of the Federal Courthouse to deliver letters to Brown’s office.