Political News

Tea party activists rally in Raleigh

Posted April 15, 2010 5:34 a.m. EDT
Updated April 15, 2010 10:15 p.m. EDT

— Several hundred conservative activists gathered outside the state capitol for an anti-tax rally Thursday evening, as millions of U.S. residents rush to meet the April 15 income tax deadline.

Triangle Conservatives Unite issued the public invitation to the Tax Day Tea Party – one of hundreds being held across the state and country – in support of smaller government and power to the people.

Tea Party speakers included Claude E. Pope Jr., chairman of the Wake County Republican Party and several politicians running for Congress from North Carolina.

"The whole idea of a federal system was that the federal government gets a limited amount of power that we bestow on them," activist Greg Brannon said. "It's going backward now."

Brannon and others believe in limited taxes and that each individual, not a large, inefficient government, should decide how much charity to give and to whom.

Meanwhile Thursday, the Nationwide Tax Day Tea Party Express tour wrapped up Thursday morning with a rally at Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C.

Protesters opened their tour nearly three weeks ago with a Nevada rally that drew at least 9,000 and heard from former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, one of the few politicians embraced by the conservative, anti-tax movement.

Palin starred at a tea party gathering of 5,000 in Boston Wednesday but was not at the finale. Radio host Neal Boortz was among the listed speakers.

The tea parties are intended to hark back to 1773, when American colonists upset about British taxation without government representation threw British tea into the harbor in protest – just a mile from the site of Wednesday's rally.

Americans are paying lower taxes this year – Congress cut individuals' federal taxes for this year by about $173 billion – but that is not expected to last.

In the next few years, some increases will come as part of the national health care overhaul.

More than 1,000 tea party rallies were planned Thursday across the U.S., including in Oklahoma, Ohio, Wisconsin, Hawaii and Georgia. Twenty-one were planned in North Carolina, including Charlotte and Wilmington.