The Westport Library McManus Room once again played host to a tea party; Westport Tea to be more exact. Dean Slack led the gathering of just over 30 like-minded people in a discussion on all the hidden taxes they are paying.
"It's amazing that a lot of people just haven't added up their total tax bills," said Slack. The Thursday night Westport Tea forum encouraged participants to do just that and see for themselves how much they really pay.
Nitzy Cohen, who is challenging Stephen Rubin for the Republican nomination in the 136th District state Assembly seat, stood up at the meeting and said people don't think about their taxes because they come directly out of the paycheck. "I dare say, if people got their gross pay, and then had to sit down and write the checks themselves for all of the things that are normally taken out, they would really start paying attention. There would be a revolution," she said.
Edward Whitney joined Slack in presenting the list of "hidden" taxes. Some were things like state tariffs placed on cigarettes and alcohol. Others were arguably fees, for legal documents like marriage and dog licenses. "I think most politicians feel 'tax' is a bad word, so they give it as many different names as they can," said Whitney. In his eyes, if it's money going into the government's bank account, it's a tax.
Tom Douglas said over the last 20 years his home's value rose 2 percent according to assessments. His property tax went up 5 percent. He said the problem isn't the taxes themselves but where the money is going and a lack of government efficiency.
Slack told participants the meeting was a jumping off point to allow members of Westport Tea to start thinking about their taxes before addressing how to start forcing government to reduce them. There may be a future forum to address those ideas.
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