Columbia Tax Demonstration

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COLUMBIA - Ahead of tax day this coming Tuesday, members of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks held a demonstration in downtown Columbia to bring attention to what the group views as an unfair tax system.

"Most Americans wouldn't mind paying taxes if we knew they were being fairly assessed and wisely spent, but the problem is they are not being fairly assessed," Mark Haim, the director of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, said. "We just got done giving huge tax cuts to the very wealthy and big corporations and giving virtually nothing in the way of tax cuts to the average working person."

The group held signs and passed out fliers to those who walked by on each of the four corners of the intersection of Broadway and Ninth Street. In addition to tax breaks for wealthy Americans, members of the group also raised concerns about the way the government is spending money collected from taxes.

"We are seeing more than half of the discretionary spending going to the military," Haim said. "And what we have seen now is a huge 14 percent increase on the Pentagon's budget meaning we are pushing towards 60 percent of discretionary spending going towards the military or other costs of past or present wars. We are just seeing a misdirection of resources at this time that is unprecedented, and it needs to be addressed."

Haim said the government needs to spend the money collected by taxes more wisely.

"So, what we're calling for is fair taxation and wise spending," said Haim. "If we can get that, we'd have no problem paying a fair amount of taxes. Everybody should do their share. But, at this point, we're not seeing the taxes fair, and we're not seeing the spending wise."

Haim said money collected from taxes should be reprioritized to fit the country's needs better.

"We need to talk about adequately funding human needs, environmental protection and all the real threats to our security," Haim said. "When you cut the income of the government through huge tax cuts and boost up military spending, everything else is then on the chopping block to be cut."

Haim said the group is just trying to share their perspective.

"We're giving our leaflets, talking to people, sharing our perspective and listening to theirs," Haim said. "At this point, we're just encouraging everybody to get engaged, become active citizens, and to press our leaders, the elected officials to pass tax plans that essentially are both fair and spend our tax dollars wisely."

This year's Tax Day falls on April 17th due to a holiday in Washington D.C. on Monday.