Thursday, April 15 2010 517-999-3646

Billboard Highlights Member-Submitted Messages, Counters Right-Wing Protestors

LANSING – Citizen’s watchdog group Progress Michigan unveiled a massive mobile billboard Thursday, April 15th, emblazoned with messages received from across the state telling the right-wing Tea Party why America works. From Traverse City to Detroit and everywhere in between, Michiganders responded to an online Progress Michigan survey, “What makes America great?”

The message was clear: on Tax Day, Michigan taxpayers are proud to invest in communities, neighborhoods and families through programs like Social Security, roads and infrastructure, health care and public education.

The winning submission came from Gussie Farris, a Grand Rapids resident who wrote, “I send my investment in my country, my state and my community every April 15th, and I do it with pride and appreciation for the privilege of living in this great democracy.” Farris said she felt compelled to set the Tea Party straight and tell the truth about the country her taxes support.

“The Tea Party rolls around the country invoking the Constitution and their right to free speech to trash the country that gave them those rights,” Farris said. “They’re entitled to their own opinion, but the rest of us aren’t going to sit silently by while they tell lies about our country.”

Progress Michigan executive director David Holtz said whether one likes paying taxes or not is less important than what paying taxes does for the country.

“Paying taxes isn’t anyone’s favorite activity,” Holtz said. “But without taxes, we don’t have roads, bridges, police, fire and the quality of life makes America great. Without taxes, there’s no one to make sure the restaurants we eat in are clean or that the medicines we buy are safe.

“That’s not big government, that’s the price of admission for living in a civilized society and a great country.”

After several high-profile events featuring prominent Michigan conservatives endorsing the Tea Party’s controversial, extremist message, Michiganders who believe in good public schools, vital state services and public investments are responding to Tea Partiers.

“The Tea Party complainers are driving to the Capitol on roads paid for with taxes, were educated on the right to protest by teachers paid with taxes, and will return home to neighborhoods protected by police officers and firefighters paid for with taxes,” said Holtz. “Where do they think the money comes from to support their American way of life? It comes from the taxes paid by hard-working Americans who today are sending a pro-America message to the Tea Party.”

Progress Michigan will provide to reporters and bloggers contact information for Michigan taxpayers who participated in the survey from ten communities across the state who agreed to talk with the news and online media about what makes America work and why the Tea Party anti-tax message is wrong. Media and bloggers seeking contact information should call Progress Michigan offices at 517.999.3646.


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