Hawaii hosts ‘tea party' at Capitol to protest high taxes

Joe Pandolfe
Joe Pandolfe

By Leland Kim - bio | email

HAWAII STATE CAPITOL (KHNL) -  Thousands of demonstrators around the country participate in "tea parties", or "taxed enough already" protests.   Hundreds of protesters carried signs near the White House.

The group was suppose to dump a million tea bags, but the national park service said, they didn't have the proper permit to do so.

In Texas, it was a massive gathering. Organizers wanted to send the message that "stimulus-money spending" is spiraling out of control.  And in Boston, hundreds drew a comparison to the Boston Tea Party held in 1773.

And in Honolulu, hundreds turned out at the state Capitol.   Organizers expected close to 2,500 people at this rally.  The Boston Tea Party was about taxation without representation; this rally, folks say, was a protest against over taxation.

This is a protest organized by frustrated taxpayers.  It pays homage to the Boston Tea Party, where frustrated colonial settlers protested against stiff taxes imposed by Great Britain. Some say not much has changed over the years.

"If you look at it, it's just ridiculous," said Joe Pandolfe, a 44-year-old Hawaii Kai resident.  "Government is just taxing too much.  Every time the government runs out of money, they can't think beyond taxing people."

Pandolfe is one of thousands at this rally.  He says he got involved because he's afraid for his children's future.

"I don't want them to grow up in a country where they're born into some form of bondage created by government," he said.

Pandolfe owns a construction business.  He says clients are more reluctant to remodel because of looming tax increases.

"They're afraid for their future," he said.  "They don't know what's coming.  They want to save their money, hold tight to whatever is in their bank account, let their house deteriorate and worry about the future basically."

Some lawmakers say they're caught between a rock and a hard place.

"I don't like taxes. No one likes taxes. They're a necessary evil for living in this community," said Rep. Marcus Oshiro, (D-Finance Committee Chair).   "We have services we want, protections we need, people we want to care for."

Others say this is the wrong way to go.

"We did a study.  Every state that raised taxes to balance their budget, in the top ten, their economy suffered in the next decade and a half after that," said Rep. Kymberly Pine, (R-Ewa, Puuloa, Ocean Pointe, Ewa Beach).  "The states that took a chance and say we're going to reduce taxes and put more money in people's pockets, those states thrived in the decade and a half after."

Folks like Pandolfe say they just want to live the American dream.

"I believe in our inalienable rights: life liberty and pursuit of happiness," he said.  "Government, by taking our money, is taking those rights from us, and not allowing the individual to give if they care."

The Hawaii event was the final one in more than 600 "tea parties" across the country.  It started at four in the afternoon because organizers say they wanted to make it a convenience for people to come.  The rally ended at around 7 pm.