By ERICH WAGNER and MAREN WRIGHT
ANNAPOLIS (April 15, 2009)—Hundreds of angry Marylanders expressed their outrage at what they argue is governmental overspending at "tea party" protests across the state and in front of the White House Wednesday.
In Annapolis, protesters rallied on the docks with ponchos, umbrellas and signs, undeterred by wind gusts and steady rain. In the spirit of the Revolutionary War's Boston Tea Party, they threw boxes labeled "TEA" into the Chesapeake Bay.
Chants like, "We are the revolution, give us back the Constitution" filled the air with the crowd's discontent.
Anthony Torosky, 66, a Westminster resident, said he has watched his taxes "go off the scale" over the years and, as a retiree, he has seen his retirement accounts decrease by 40 percent.
"We need to completely change Congress, elect all new officials, and start over," Torosky said.
Some Marylanders chose to skip the local rallies and headed for the White House to voice their protest where event organizers estimated a crowd of 3,000. Adrienne Burrows of Crofton said she wanted to make sure word got out about how many people are upset.
"I feel like the mainstream media has been ignoring the tea parties, so I wanted to come to where it would make a difference," Burrows said.
Burrows was in Washington to tell the government to stop spending her money. Frederick's Anderson Foster, 17, hopes the government listens.
"These taxes are going to affect me once I start paying taxes," Foster said. "And a lot of the money is going to things I don't really believe in."
The idea that our children will be paying the bill for current deficit spending was the motivator for Mike McCary to leave work in Gaithersburg and head downtown. He said he's had it with the spending spree that started with government bailouts last fall.
"I'm only going to be paying into this system for a few more years, I'm 55," McCary said. "But my kids will be paying the rest of their lives."
Despite rain that drizzled and poured, the crowds in front of the White House huddled, straining to hear those on the stage.
National radio talk show host Laura Ingraham got the crowd cheering.
"The people have the power," Ingraham said. "I'm impressed by the number of people who believe in freedom and are willing to stand up for it."
Park Police couldn't confirm the crowd size at the district event but were able to say it was less than the 3,000 that Nationwide Tax Day Tea Party, the protest organizers, had requested in their permit application.
State Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat, referenced the tea parties during the morning's Board of Public Works meeting.
"I think in the public's mind, stimulus sometimes gets confused with 'boondoggle,'" Franchot said. "I don't share the 'tea party' rhetoric as such, but I sure as heck sympathize with people out there who see billions of dollars in taxpayer money going out the door with very little accountability, in their mind."
Del. Michael D. Smigiel Sr., R-Kent, said Annapolis was the second of four tea parties he was attending throughout the day, making stops at protests in Kent County, Cecil County and Havre de Grace. Smigiel took issue with spending in Washington, as well as in Annapolis, where the legislature just finished its annual 90-day session this week.
"I originally ran for office because of fiscal irresponsibility, and this past session has shown everything that is wrong with government spending," Smigiel said. "Someone has to say, 'Stop the madness.'"
Capital News Service Staff Writer Michael Frost contributed to this report.
Md. Guard Issues Warning to Staff about Local TEA Party Protestors, April 15, 2009
Anti-Tax Protest Draws Hundreds on Solomons, April 1, 2009