Local Politics

Tea party supporters rally on tax day

Posted April 15, 2011 6:58 a.m. EDT
Updated April 15, 2011 7:18 p.m. EDT

— In what is becoming an annual tradition, tea party and conservative groups movement are holding thousands of rallies across the country on America's traditional tax day.

Two rallies were held  in Raleigh. One was hosted by the Wake County Taxpayers Association Tea Party at the Federal Building. 

The other event,the Tax Day Tea Party, organized by Triangle Conservatives Unite was held at the State Capitol Building.

Organizers said their message is simple: limited government, smaller taxes and power to the people.

“What they’ve done up in Washington is they’ve basically said, ‘We’re going to give money to people now,’ and then people like me are going to pay it back later,” said Jason Voluntaryist, a Tea Party supporter who attended the rally outside the state Capitol on Friday.

The rally is timed to coincide with April 15 when Americans federal taxes are usually due. The deadline is pushed back to Monday this year because Friday is a federal holiday, Emancipation Day, in Washington, D.C.

“When George Bush was in office, I didn’t like it. I thought he was overspending. I thought, well, even if we get a Democrat next time, they can’t spend more than George Bush did. But I was completely wrong about that,” said Lee Odom, who attended the rally outside the state Capitol.

The current tea party movement started a little more than two years ago after an on-air call from CNBC reporter Rick Santelli over President Barack Obama's mortgage bailout plan.

"We're thinking of having a Chicago tea party in July. All of you capitalists that want to show up at Lake Michigan, I'm going to start organizing it," Santelli said.

In a recent CNN poll, 77 percent of tea party supporters identified themselves as conservative. Sixty percent are men age 50 and older, 66 percent are college educated, and half attend church regularly.

Tea party activists said all supporters of the movement want to restore the nation's founding principles.

"James Madison said it. If the Congress does not do the will of the people, the republic is gone," said David DeGerolamo, with NC Freedom.

"It's very simple. Whatever we do, we filter through that," Brannon said.

While some don't argue with the Tea Party's message, they take issue with the group's approach to politics.

"Politically I don’t have a problem with anyone, but it’s the way you conduct yourself. And if you are about separation and division, that’s not me,” Independent voter William Wade said.