Carrying signs that read “Taxed out of my house” and “Your pork broke my piggy bank,” more than a dozen people staged a demonstration in Fort Plain on Wednesday to bring attention to the plight of taxpayers burdened by the weight of government’s appetite for tax revenue.
The quiet protest in the village named after the Revolutionary War-era outpost was one of numerous events taking place nationwide as part of the “Tax Day Tea Party.”
A police officer estimated the crowd at 2,000 at the Corning Preserve in Albany. According to the Web site taxdayteaparty.com, similar protests were planned for Binghamton, Buffalo, Rome, Syracuse and nearly 30 other locations around New York.
Residents in Fort Plain recently received new assessments on their properties as part of a revaluation in the town of Minden, and several voiced concerns over how they can continue to survive the crushing tax bills.
“The taxes are just so horrendous … it’s almost impossible,” said Andre Jones, who said the value of her home in Minden was raised by $150,000.
Carl Camp, one of several people dressed in Colonial-era clothing, wore a Continental Army uniform to the event in the village’s Haslett Park.
The Vietnam-era veteran said unchecked government spending is going to lead to “the destruction of the middle class.
“We don’t see how you can spend your way out of a recession anyway,” Camp said.
Camp said he sees a dire situation brewing in western Montgomery County, where two major businesses — Beech-Nut and Richardson Brands — are either leaving or threatening to leave.
“We don’t have jobs here. The industry we do have is moving away,” Camp said.
Some took the opportunity to criticize federal government spending and the administration of President Barack Obama, but others said there isn’t a difference between Democrats and Republicans.
“They’ve just been working hand-in-hand,” said Utica-area resident Joe Smith, who held up a sign reading “Honk if you’re fed up with both sides of the aisle.”
Smith said the two major parties do nothing more than work to “outspend each other.”
Smith came to the Fort Plain event after joining in an earlier one in Norwich and said he was headed to Fort Stanwix, a Colonial-era reproduction fort in Rome, to participate in another event later in the day.
“It’s about the taxes, it doesn’t matter. Both parties are involved,” said Laurie Freedman, who carried a large “tea bag” beneath a sign that had tobacco products and a beverage container attached to it.
Freedman said she doesn’t smoke but she was opposed to tobacco taxes and the so-called “fat tax” that was proposed earlier this year in New York.
Local taxes were another focus for some. Phil Minnich said the growth in property taxes paid to schools, added to new property values in the town of Minden, will likely force people out of their homes.
“People are in serious hardship,” he said, adding he considers himself one of these people.
“And of course, my house is falling apart,” Minnich said.