EUGENE, Ore. — Protesters used tax day to draw attention toward how Congress plans to spend all of those tax dollars. The Community Alliance of Lane County says Congress needs a better idea of how tax dollars should be spent.
Americans across the country filed their tax returns Monday and demonstrators wanted everyone to know where their tax money was going.
“If you’re late on your taxes, I wouldn’t worry about it all that much because we’ve got a government that’s late on all of this too,” said demonstrator Susan Cundiff.
Protesters spent the afternoon at the Eugene Post Office, using tax day to draw attention to the nation’s spending.
“It’s on their minds. They’re paying their taxes, so this is the best day to get their attention,” said Michael Carrigan, demonstration organizer.
Demonstrators were primarily upset with how much Congress devotes to military spending.
“Half of the tax dollars that congress appropriates each year goes to the military,” Carrigan said.
“Many times it was said by both parties that defense cuts were off the table,” Cundiff said.
Veteran’s organizations have warned that reduced military spending could mean fewer benefits for men and women in service.
Demonstrators were clear that while they want to see defense spending decrease, they want veterans’ benefits to remain. They want Congress to reset its priorities when it comes to looking at next year’s budget.
“People here want to fund programs that protect the environment, the social programs they hold dear,” Carrigan said.
President Obama’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year actually includes a reduction in military spending. Demonstrators were hopeful their efforts are being observed in Washington, D.C.
“We’ve had an impact. Over the years people are saying ‘please change our spending priorities.’ They have listened,” Carrigan said.
Protesters also marched to the offices of Rep. Peter DeFazio and Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden. They said it was ultimately Congress who decided where tax money goes and they wanted congress to get their message.