At filing deadline, two sides of the tax debate presented

by Jordan Green

As a cold front descended on Greensboro late April 17 the traffic remained backed up on Murrow Boulevard, and one man sprinted across the parking lot to the US Postal Services’ main office to make the deadline for filing federal income taxes. And two activist groups took advantage of the bottleneck and the heightened attention on federal taxation to amplify their respective messages.

The round signs with the letters ‘“IRS’” written in red with a black diagonal line slashed through the middle, held by the Libertarians, were pretty self explanatory.

‘“Everybody hates the IRS,’” said Robert Sinnott.

‘“But people don’t understand it’s really not necessary to have them,’” added Allison Jaynes.

As members of the College Libertarians, the two have recently been active in a challenge to UNCG’s regulations of free speech areas. The Libertarians also run candidates for political office, although North Carolina was one of only two states that failed to get Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik on the ballot in 2004, Sinnott said.

‘“We’re raising awareness towards abolishing the IRS,’” he said. ‘“The ultimate goal would be to have local control over spending. Social programs could be replaced by non-profit private organizations that would compete against each other.’”

Beth McKee-Huger and her husband Ray Huger expressed a more counter-intuitive message, holding a banner that read, ‘“Reduce your taxes with a universal living wage.’”

If businesses paid a living wage ‘— that is, a minimum wage set to cover the cost of living rather than governed by the labor market ‘— it wouldn’t be necessary for the government to spend extra tax money on social welfare programs like Medicaid and NC Health Choice For Children, said McKee-Huger , director of the Greensboro Housing Coalition. She added that she personally favors the government spending more on social welfare programs rather than less.

‘“I’m particularly interested in people being able to afford housing,’” McKee-Huger said. ‘“To afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent someone on minimum wage would have to work one hundred and one hours a week.’”

– Jordan Green