It's a tea party! Nationwide protest has several Utah events

Published April 15, 2009 12:00 pm

Politics » Tea party events aim to send Congress a message.
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In tandem with the deadline for filing income tax returns, a nationwide tax revolt storms through Utah on Wednesday with several "tea party" events scheduled around the state.

The initial idea took root from a February rant by CNBC's Rick Santelli against mortgage bailouts for "losers." Organizers of the grassroots movement say as many as 2,600 such tea protest events are planned across the country today.

Adam Gardiner, a 22-year-old sophomore at Weber State University, organized the noon event at Salt Lake City's Federal Building, where Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, and U.S. Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz are expected to rally the anticipated crowd.

"We're frustrated over the bailouts, the irresponsible stimulus package and irresponsible waste," said Gardiner, a self-proclaimed conservative.

"These are unique and tough times," Gardiner added, "but I don't think you can spend your way out of a crisis."

Wayne Holland, who is chairman of the Utah Democratic Party, described the so-called revolt as an event orchestrated by Fox News and right-wing radio.

"Any complaints these tea baggers have must be against previous administrations," Holland added, "because for 99 percent of Utahns, their taxes are going down, not up."

Gardiner insists it's a nonpartisan movement.

"If they'd had tea parties for [former President George W.] Bush's irresponsible spending, I would have been right there with them," said Gardiner, who credited Santelli for giving voice to widespread angst.

Chaffetz said he plans to take aim at Congress' out-of-control spending, regardless of political stripe.

"There's a growing chorus of Americans," Chaffetz said, "that will shout at the top of their lungs that they're fed up with the way Washington, D.C., is doing business."

Meanwhile, state Democrats posted an online message about the benefits Utahns are reaping from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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Today's anti-tax tea parties

Salt Lake City » Noon, Federal Building Plaza, 125 S. State St.

Salt Lake City » 7:00 p.m., U.S. Post Office, 1795 W. 2100 South.

Logan » 4:00 p.m., 241 N. Main St., south of City Hall.

Provo » 5:00 p.m., Old Utah County Courthouse, corner of University and Center.

Richfield » 5:30 p.m., City Park, 3rd N. Main St.

St. George » 5:00 p.m., Vernon Worthen Park.

For more information online » taxdayteaparty.com/teaparty/utah/

State Democrats respond at » http://www.utdemocrats.org