Minnesota protest sends off tax day message: Tax the rich!
St. Paul, MN – Members the Welfare Rights Committee and the Minnesota Coalition for a People’s Bailout gathered at the State Capitol Building, April 16, demanding that legislators tax the rich and stop cutting programs that serve poor and working people. “We are here – the day before Tax Day – to demand that the politicians in this capitol stop balancing the budget on the backs of working and poor Minnesotans. We say it is time for politicians to tax the rich,” said Kristin Rafferty of the Welfare Rights Committee.
Protesters unfurled a giant banner with that message on the steps of the capitol and later, following a struggle with cops from the State Patrol, hung the banner in the capitol rotunda.
This legislative session Republican politicians ignored the tax bill – HF2669/SF2256, sponsored by Representative Frank Hornstein and Senator Jeff Hayden – that would raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy and introduced a host of measures that attack people on public assistance, immigrants and in trade unions. They refused to hear a bill that would have placed a moratorium on home foreclosures.
Speaking to protesters, Ebony Harris of the Welfare Rights Committee said, “The Welfare Rights Committee fought long and hard this year and we have been successful in stopping some of the worst cuts to welfare. We testified, we protested, we chanted in hearings. We were harassed and threatened with arrest, but we refused to be silent! And we stopped the three-year lifetime limit to welfare that Republicans tried so hard to push through.”
“With tax day upon us, we are sending a message that it is time to make the rich pay for the effects of the economic crisis that is being felt in so many of our communities” said Linden Gawboy of the Welfare Rights Committee. “We do not need cuts to social programs and we don’t need to use budget tricks to hide the budget crisis. We need a lot more taxes on the wealthy and their corporations.”
Steff Yorek, of the MN Coalition for a Peoples Bailout, told the crowd, “We demand that Minnesota’s wealthy pay more. We reject the notion that every time the legislature meets, the debate is about cutting programs that serve the people of this state. We want economic justice.”