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Unhappy taxpayers rally against tax hikes in Chambersburg

July 04, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- With Gov. Ed Rendell's proposed budget stalemated in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, 600 unhappy taxpayers rallied in Chambersburg's center square Saturday to declare their independence from looming tax increases.

Likening their protest to that of a group of Boston patriots in 1776, Franklin County, Pa., joined in the nationwide TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party movement against taxation and government spending.

State Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-Franklin, said the lack of a state budget shows conservative representatives in Harrisburg, Pa., are listening to their constituents.

"Every other year I have been in Harrisburg, the legislative leadership, Republican and Democrat alike, have caved to Gov. Rendell and given us more spending, more spending, more borrowing, more borrowing," he said. "But this year, it is different. They can hear you."

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Elected representatives are "getting the picture" painted by the conservative rhetoric, Kauffman said.

"Your voices are being heard and you have to keep letting them be heard," he told the crowd.

The voices of local Republicans were heard throughout downtown Saturday, inspiring some motorists to honk at the energized crowd.

The signs carried by protesters bore messages of frustration, fear and hope.

Signs with messages such as "Vote for change because that is all I have left in my pocket," "Liberty is all the stimulus we need" and "All my axes live in taxes" peppered the square.

Half a dozen speakers spent the morning condemning the actions of President Obama, Rendell and other key Democratic leaders as responsible for the current fiscal crisis and proposed taxation.

Still, a few cautioned the Independence Day rally alone could not bring about change.

"We all know why we are here," said Reich Hawker, a member of the Franklin County Young Republicans. "The GOP took a big hit in 2004, and now we have a government that thinks it can fix any problem if it just puts enough zeros on the check. We all know we are mad as hell, right? But that alone is not enough unless we take action."

As for action, the Franklin County Republicans circulated a petition reading, "We the undersigned, assembled on the town square of Chambersburg this July, 4, 2009 demand -- not ask, not tell, demand -- that you support no legislation that raises our taxes further."

Organizer Steve Brenize said the local Republican Party hopes to host more TEA parties in the future.

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