Did you let your elected officials know how you feel about the way your tax dollars are being spent? Are you happy with huge tax breaks for the rich, increases in military spending, and devastating cuts in education, health care and other social services? Why not go to fcnl.org and let your elected officials know how you feel? Better late than never! (There is no penalty for protesting after the deadline for filing has passed.)
Steve Leeds, a Quaker from Northern California, sent me the following note regarding the Quaker "Pay Your Taxes Under Protest" campaign:
A group of six of Friends from Northern California (Elizabeth Boardman of Davis MM, Bob and Kathy Runyan of Chico MM, Janet and Ed Hale of Palo Alto MM, and Steve Leeds of San Francisco MM) have been continuously meeting and engaging both within CPQM and with Friends from SCQM at the PYM Annual Gathering since 2007. Among some of what this small committee accomplished:
-The statewide Pay Under Protest campaign focusing on Friends within PYM is now complete for this tax season - a total of 99 participants, almost all Quakers. We are pretty sure there were a few others we didn’t hear about who wrote to their congressmen, or will later. And there were many who were sympathetic, but just didn’t get around to it this year.
-Elizabeth, Bob, and Steve facilitated a workshop and display at the 2007 gathering in Redlands.
-We have hosted "meal" tables at the Annual Gathering each year and at periodic CPQM gatherings since 2007.
-We presented a workshop in Claremont in 2010 and disseminated information throughout both Quarterly Meetings by sending and calling MM clerks.
-Elizabeth and Steve visited approximately 13 monthly meetings and Berkeley Friends Church in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
-We have an email list of almost 100 Friends throughout PYM that we disseminate information to on the issue Friends and war taxes.
-Each of us has worked with Friends corporately and individually within our own Monthly Meetings. Janet and Ed Hale were key organizers of a "Federal Budget Pie Party" at Palo Alto MM in March focusing on war taxes.
We are realistic and understand that engaging with Friends on this issue is a long-term project. Friends have a wide variety of views on the issue of Quakers, the Peace Testimony, and their taxes paid to make war. Some Friends don't think about the issue, don't want to, are fearful, think they might go to jail, feel the responsibility of job, family, concerned about the opinions of their peers in their Meeting and beyond, and more reasons. We've learned there is a lot of misinformation on the consequences of taking action.
Hopefully, we can carry forward and work closely with PYM's Peace and Social Order Committee. Any thoughts and ideas you have as clerk how to push this issue forward among Friends and beyond would be much appreciated.
We hope in the future that there will be clarity and specificity about the process for applying to present a workshop at future Annual Gatherings.
Please feel free to contact us if you have questions or ideas about how we can move this issue forward among Friends and ways to connect this work more broadly to PYM.
Elizabeth Boardman, Janet Hale, Ed Hale, and Kathy Runyan, Bob Runyan, and Steve Leeds