About a dozen Montezuma County residents gathered at the intersection of Market and Main streets Tuesday afternoon to voice their displeasure concerning what the richest Americans pay in taxes.
The 12 held signs that protested what the richest 1 percent paid in taxes last year and mentioned the proposed Buffett Rule where Americans making more than $1 million a year should have to pay a 30-percent tax rate.
Buffett is a multi-billionaire and has mentioned that his tax rate is lower than what his secretary is forced to pay.
Chip Tuthill said the protestors decided to come out on tax filing day, so their message would be heard loud and clear by residents driving and walking on Main Street.
We are trying to get some fairness and equality, Tuthill said, mentioning Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney only paid 14 percent in taxes on the $20 million he made in 2010, while the average taxpayer paid between 25 to 30 percent.
The corporate tax rate is what we are talking about, he said. He added that large corporations, like Exxon, are getting huge tax breaks while making billions in profits.
We are not being listened to, he said. We need a fair and equitable tax rate where everyone pays their fair share.
He said the tax breaks and loopholes the richest Americans receive should be eliminated.
Laird Carlson said the protest was focused on trying to bring attention to the public how unfair the tax rate structure is for the average citizen.
Carlson said 72 percent of the public agrees that richer Americans should have to pay more in taxes, and 53 percent of Republicans agree with that idea.
Why should they get those tax breaks? Its ridiculous, he said. The reason we are here today is because it is filing day.
Julie Bulger said the protest was meant to educate the public on what is happening.
Theres a lot of corruption, Bulger said. We just want equal representation for the American people, and I dont feel we have that right now.
She said the worst part about this discrepancy is the majority of the top 1 percent wage earners are willing to pay their fair share but know they do not have to, so they dont.
Kerry OBrien said he had filed his federal tax return earlier in the day and his 15-percent tax rate was much higher than some citizens who earn a lot more.
He also mentioned Buffett and his secretary having different tax rates where Buffett ended up paying a lower tax rate than his employee.
OBrien and the other protestors asked motorists to honk their horns if they agreed with the message, and OBrien added they received a fairly good response.
I think this is something every person should get behind, he said.
Michael Maresh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org