Sounding an echo to the thousands who cried "no more taxes" in the State Capitol last year, delegates to Utah's Libertarian Party Convention moved Saturday to fashion themselves as the tax protester's party of choice.
About 250 people - more than half of them spectators - gathered in the Hillside Intermediate School auditorium to listen as presidential candidate Ron Paul pitched party ideals of tax limitation and limited government.The largest delegation appeared to be from Kane County, and included Big Water's polygamist mayor, Alex Joseph, who took the podium briefly and urged those attending to donate money so the party will take hold in Utah.
Paul, a former four-term Republican congressman from Houston, talked of returning to the gold standard, abolishing the Federal Reserve, cutting the federal budget and eliminating foreign defense spending. But his support for Utah's grass-roots tax limitation drive got the most vigorous response. Interrupted several times by loud applause and chanting, it was obvious that Paul struck a sensitive nerve.
"Ten years ago, (alifornia's) Proposition 13 started the tax revolt and sent a message across the country. The next big message for this country should be the overwhelming passage of of the tax initiatives in this state in November." Paul urged party members to take up the tax limitation theme with Democrats and Republicans who don't believe they have a good choice of candidates in either party.
After pledging to return to Utah several times before November, Paul sparked a repeat of the "no more taxes" chant as he pushed for unlimited party growth.
"We're coming of age, and we will make a difference. . . . We're going to make darn sure that everyone in this state knows for sure which party is really and truly for eliminating taxes."
Paul said U.S. taxing authorities are "more vicious and attacking than the king of England ever was. They say we must keep our financial re cords for seven years - that's involuntary servitude. Then they take those records and use them against us - and that's self-incrimination. That's not part of the American system of government, and we ought to change it quickly."
The party's vice presidential candidate, Andre Marrou, continued Paul's tax limitation theme by warning that past civilizations have crumbled in the face of rising taxes and inflation. "The Roman empire debased its currency and taxed its people heavily. We've done the same thing. About 44 percent of your income goes to various taxing authorities."
Marrou said both major parties have slipped so close to socialism that "the 1928 Socialist Party platform has been substantially enacted during the past 60 years - half of it by Democrats and the other half by Republicans." As a result, he said the Libertarian Party is growing in size and strength.
Of more than 100 Libertarian politicians now in office, Marrou said at least half have been elected within the past three years. "We're now electing about one candidate per week across the (nited States). Mainstream people are moving towards our position - that of the Founding Fathers, who said `that government is best which governs least.' "