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Tax Day Rally at State Capitol demands 'Tax the Rich'

by staff |
April 16, 2009
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Protesters on steps of MN state capitol, with windblown banners, signs & hair.
Protest at Minnesota State Capitol on Tax Day demands "Tax the rich." (Fight Back! News/Kim DeFranco)

St. Paul, MN - Fifty protesters gathered on tax day, April 15, on the front steps of the Minnesota state capitol building to demand state government tax the rich and not balance the state budget on the backs of working and low-income people. Organized by the Minnesota Coalition for a People’s Bail Out, speakers included leaders of labor unions, low-income groups and anti-war organizations.

Deb Konechne, a spokesperson for the Minnesota Coalition for a People’s Bail Out said, “The wealthy have enjoyed years of state and federal tax breaks, which has led to an enormous concentration of wealth in this country. But what did the wealthy do with this bonus? They ran the economy into the ground. Now state and federal government are preparing budget cuts.”

“People are losing their jobs and homes. It is time the rich make up the difference and pay higher taxes so low-income and working people get a break,” said Mick Kelly, also of the MN Coalition for a People’s Bail Out.

Bernie Hess, of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 789 and the Saint Paul Regional Labor Federation was scheduled to speak but instead was forced to send a message to the rally. He was on duty at a meat processing plant in Buffalo Lake, Minnesota, where over 250 workers were laid off on April 14 with no notice.

Tasha Jackson, of the Welfare Rights Committee said, “The state of Minnesota is in a budget deficit. We say, if the state needs money, go where the money is - tax the rich! Don’t take it from poor and working people.”

The People’s Bail Out coalition has been working for legislation at the state capitol that would provide some basic protections for working and low-income people during the current economic crisis. Among the steps the coalition wants to see enacted are a moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions, an extension of the five-year limit for families receiving public assistance and an end to layoffs of public and University of Minnesota employees.

Rosemary Williams, whose home has been foreclosed on, called on all those present to continue the fight for a moratorium on home foreclosures and for the rights of tenants of properties in foreclosure.

Member groups of the coalition include AFSCME Local 3800, Welfare Rights Committee, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition (MIRAc), SDS at the University of Minnesota, Women Against Military Madness, Anti-War Committee, Iraq Peace Action Coalition, Saint Paul Regional Labor Federation, the State Council on Black Minnesotans, UNITE/HERE Minnesota and others.