See you at the West Oakland post office on .
Brooklyn, NY — Taxpayers rushing to the IRS or post offices on , will be greeted by signs and banners protesting the use of taxes for war. And, from Chico, California, to Fort Collins, Colorado, and Louisville, Kentucky, to Cambridge Massachusetts, members of the public will be asked to take a “penny poll,” by dropping coins into jars representing budget categories to show how they would like their tax money disbursed.
These informal penny polls show year after year that funding education, health care, and human resources are the highest priorities, with the Pentagon receiving a much smaller share. This result is consistent with a study by the Program on International Policy Attitudes where adult Americans favored increases in social spending and gave military spending the deepest cut averaging 31%.
With over $5 billion per month going to pay for war and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the death toll in military personnel and civilians increasing each day, anger is rising over the gluttonous use of resources — human and monetary — consumed by war. In many cases the people holding the signs will be individuals who openly refuse to pay some or all of their income taxes because they cannot in good conscience pay for war.
Each year the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) collects a list of tax day actions to share with activists and the media. the list includes activities in over 35 cities and town. In Portland, Oregon, Berkeley, California, and Madison, Wisconsin, war tax resisters will publicly redirect their federal tax dollars to community organizations. Redirection is an intricate part of refusing to pay federal taxes to the IRS; resisters instead pay their taxes by giving the money to organizations that meet human needs, care for victims of war, and work for peace and justice.
Along with redirection ceremonies and vigils, hundreds of activists around the country will hand out informational leaflets detailing for passers-by how their income tax money is really used. The National Priorities Project calculates the cost of the Iraq war per household at $3,000, and the War Resisters League’s analysis of the Bush administration’s budget puts military spending at 49% of the federal budget.
Rebecca Nellenbeck of Ithaca, New York, made the decision to refuse to pay for war for the first time in . “There is so much money. There just isn’t enough to pay for endless, illegitimate, illegal, unjust wars and care for our children, not to mention pay for education and healthcare.” Rather than send her income tax money to the IRS, she chose to give it to a veterans’ hospital, her local post office and library, and a health care fund.
The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC), founded in , is a coalition of local, regional and national groups to provide information and support to people who are conscientious objectors to paying taxes for war.