Tax Cut Rally Draws Hundreds To Capitol In The Cold Rain
A few hundred hardy fiscal conservatives braved a cold, wind-driven rain to hear former presidential candidate Herman Cain and more than a dozen other speakers rip state and federal taxes and spending during the annual Tax Cut Rally on the state Capitol mall on Saturday, April 28. For more than three hours, they cheered as speaker after speaker drove home the same message: cut spending and stop raising taxes. Cain, the folksy former Georgia restaurant executive, praised the drenched crowd for turning out despite the elements. "You are here because you are the real patriots that's going to take back this country," he said. It was a relatively small crowd for the 14th annual anti-tax rally. Previous gatherings have attracted thousands. But given the bad weather, the turnout was "amazing," said Phil Krinkie, president of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota, which co-sponsored the event with Americans for Prosperity Minnesota. "There are a lot of crazy Minnesotans that are ready to endure anything and everything to come out here and have their voices heard," Krinkie said. Before dropping out of the presidential race in December, Cain captured conservatives' attention with his "9-9-9 plan" to scrap the federal tax code and replace it with 9 percent taxes on individuals, businesses and sales. He reiterated that theme Saturday. "We don't want to hear about reforming the tax code. We want to hear about replacing the tax code," he told the cheering crowd.
Without mentioning Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, he told the disappointed conservatives who backed other candidates to "keep your eye on the mission. The mission is to defeat Barack Obama in November." The rally also was a showcase for three candidates seeking the Republican endorsement to challenge U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar this fall. Afghanistan war veteran Pete Hegseth of Stillwater told the crowd he would lead a charge to bring down the national debt. "It's not time to decrease the increases in spending. It is time to make cuts," he said. "We are heading off of a fiscal cliff, and we have to turn that around. That's why we're here. That's why I'm running." State Rep. Kurt Bills, a Rosemount High School economics teacher, also condemned the spiraling national debt and pledged to fight for free enterprise and the private sector. "I hope you can get behind me and bring Economics 101 to Washington this coming November," he said. Sounding the same theme as Cain, former state Rep. Dan Severson of Sauk Rapids told the crowd, "We need a new tax system." He advocated replacing the federal income tax with a national sales tax called the "fair tax." Severson also said he has signed a pledge to vote against any tax increases, and he challenged his two rivals to do the same.