Hundreds of thousands of people turned out April 15 at Tea Party Tax Protests around the country to attack the Obama Administration’s massive spending plans, as well as to express opposition to the incomprehensible U.S. tax system.
The National Taxpayers Union is helping concerned activists gain the knowledge to effectively change tax policy. And they’re holding a conference soon aimed at assisting citizens to make the connections to do so.
“We’re hoping our conference will be a good place to turn taxpayers’ frustration into a useful outcome,” NTU Communications Manager Natasha Altamirano told HUMAN EVENTS. “One of our challenges is to keep that momentum going — to keep our movement organized and develop more effective activists.”
The conference is slated for June 11 to 13 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, Va. Attendees can pick and choose from a selection of seminars, panel discussions and training sessions about forming and running a taxpayer group.
The conference is a biennial event sponsored by the National Taxpayer Union Foundation, the research and education affiliate of the NTU lobbyist organization. In 2007, an estimated 450 people attended the NTUF conference. This year’s conference is geared toward taxpayer activists who are working on citizen initiatives at the state and local level.
“We try to make every conference bigger and better, and we pride ourselves on being able to draw big-name speakers,” Altamirano said. “We expect several members of Congress at the conference.”
Speakers at the this year’s conference include former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, former Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt, author and former Undersecretary of State James K. Glassman, Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind.), and David M. Walker, president and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
But Altamirano said some of the most valuable information for attendees will come out of the discussion panels on particular issues and networking with other participants who have had previous successes on tax issues.
General sessions open to all attendees include speakers who are on the frontlines of fighting tax tyranny, elected officials proposing reforms, insider political views, and celebrity speakers, authors and radio and television hosts. Book signings, sightseeing tours and an exhibitors’ hall provide opportunities to get acquainted with fellow citizen groups, activists and vendors.
NTU’s guiding principle as an advocate for the taxpayer is that money belongs to the ones who earn it and government should be limited in its ability to impose and raise taxes. NTU’s chief goals include such sweeping reforms as passage of balanced-budget and tax-limitation amendments to the Constitution, scrapping the convoluted U.S. tax code and the Internal Revenue Service, and breaking the cycle of dependence between lobbyists and politicians.
Altamirano said an upsurge in membership and contacts the NTU experienced following the tax day demonstrations, even though numerous media outlets dismissed them as inconsequential, demonstrates the outrage that exists across the country.
NTU, an independent organization founded in 1969, accepts no funding from the government or labor unions, instead depends on small, private donations and limited corporate funding. The National Taxpayer Union Foundation was chartered in 1977 as the educational affiliate of the NTU to provide timely information promoting the benefits of lower taxes and limited government.
The NTU maintains a cost-accounting system that tracks each bill introduced in Congress and a vote tally of all federal lawmakers. This cross-index of bills and voting records provides an in-depth picture of the fiscal behavior of each senator and representative and quantifies the budgeting impact of their votes. Other information available are candidate surveys on election issues, NTU’s ratings of Congress and a House office-expense database sorted by state to include the top 50 mass mailers and postage users and the top 50 savers of taxpayer dollars.