War Tax Resisters Talk Tactics

I tried to get a little buzz going in American war tax resistance circles by highlighting my articles on

on the wtr-s email discussion group and NWTRCC’s Facebook group. Alas, these posts made little splash, and the ripples died out quickly. Here is the wtr-s discussion thread. There seemed to be some enthusiasm for making an effort to try to get other groups to endorse war tax resistance, which I agree sounds like a promising idea.

Larry Rosenwald wondered whether it was worthwhile to try to pick tactics that appeal to all factions of the modern American war tax resistance movement. Might it not be better, he suggests, to select the most powerful tactics, even if they’re ones that not all resisters will be interested in signing on to? He may be right about that, but the example he chose to illustrate it — “the peace tax legislation activism that’s the heart of many European war tax resistance initiatives, and the American campaign for a peace tax fund” — strikes me as the least powerful and among the most divisive of the possible tactics we could be considering. This just goes to show how difficult it may be to get the movement, such as it is, to rally around a particular set of effective tactics.

A dispatch from :

Taxpayers Threaten Strike Unless Rates Are Reduced

 A taxpayers’ strike was threatened in Elmira today unless the Elmira common council and the Chemung county supervisors agreed to demands for lower county, city and school tax rates.

The threat was made by the Taxpayers’ league after the council had refused to reduce the municipal budget below $1,078,745. The budget already has been adopted at that figure, and placed in operation.

Leon B. Keeton, automobile dealer who is chairman of the league said 1,000 taxpayers already have signed a short “declaration of independence” which his organization has placed in circulation, and 3,000 more names will be obtained before it is presented to the council. The declaration reads:

Refuse to Pay

“The undersigned taxpayers, members of the Taxpayers’ league, believing the county, city and school tax rates as levied are too high, hereby refuse to pay until the budget has been thoroughly examined by the committee of the Taxpayers’ league.

“We also refuse to pay penalties until such revision has been made and a lower tax rate adopted.”

A reduction or elimination of fees paid county supervisors for committee and other work, and discontinuance of “frills” in education were among the proposals advanced by the league to obtain a tax reduction.

The league described the supervisory staff in the public schools as an education frill.

Cuts for City Workers

The league also asked for pay cuts for all city employes.

If the city should grant the league’s request, officials said it would reduce the city tax rate by $1 a $1,000 assessment value, from the present rate of $20.80.

The Central Trades and Labor assembly has endorsed Mayor W. Glenn Sweet and the council majority in refusing the league’s requests.

City officials refused to comment formally, but in quarters close to them they were described as feeling the league’s action was either a “trick” a “threat” or an act “freighted with dire consequences.”

The league claims its membership represents the majority of Elmira taxpayers and that it is determined not to back down until its demands are met.