State News

Hundreds gather in Raleigh for anti-tax rally

Posted June 3, 2009 4:01 a.m. EDT
Updated June 4, 2009 12:09 a.m. EDT

— Conservatives say General Assembly leaders need to know proposed tax increases would mean more difficult choices for North Carolina families.

Bus loads of anti-tax activists came together Wednesday in Raleigh for the annual "Take Back Our State" rally, sponsored by the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity.

A scheduled speaker was Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher. He made news during the presidential campaign when he asked then-presidential candidate Barack Obama about taxes.

"The citizens of North Carolina have to step up and say 'No, you've been spending our money time and time and time again,'" said Wurzelbacher during a break from signing autographs and getting his picture taken by passers-by. "You can't take care of everybody. Our system doesn't work that way."

Heather Neal, 33, of Fayetteville, who carried a sign that read "Bev Perdue, I'm Sick of You," said she attended the rally "for people who pay their taxes and work to pay their taxes and couldn't be here."

Neal, a discount store supervisor, accused Perdue of going back on her word by failing to protect public education during the budget crisis. Perdue has required all state employees – including schoolteachers – to take a 0.5 percent pay cut, but they haven't been laid off.

Americans for Prosperity chartered a bus for activists from across the state to attend the rally. Pick ups were in Fayetteville, Goldsboro, Pinehurst and Wilmington.

Democratic legislative leaders are grappling with how to narrow a $4.6 billion budget gap for the year starting July 1.

Chapter president Dallas Woodhouse said the event behind the Legislative Building was designed to make clear to lawmakers that the public is taxed enough already. The group says spending needs to be reduced.