WINDHAM — Two local activists are brewing a bracing cup of discontent for tax day.
Windham homeowners Ted Maravelias, 40, and Corey Lewandowski, 35, say their noon taxpayer tea party on the Statehouse steps, like at least five other rallies elsewhere in New Hampshire on Wednesday, is drawing broad interest from average citizens.
Maravelias, a political activist for 20 years, attributes increased interest in the anti-tax movement to the growing number of people worried about losing their homes and their jobs.
Excessive government spending and deficits coupled with recession "equals fear for the average taxpayer," Maravelias says.
Maravelias, a married father of three children, shares that fear. He says he is making half as much money as he did a year ago — he recruits nurses for employers. And he worries whether he and his family can afford to stay in their home.
Fortunately, his wife, Caroline, trained as an accountant, manages the family's finances. She says Ted is a spendthrift.
He and Lewandowski, also a married father of three children, are organizers with the national group Americans for Prosperity. They receive a stipend for their work.
They field calls and e-mails, and meet with people interested in the principles of fiscal responsibility.
Those interested people include a female postal worker Lewandowski spent 45 minutes talking to on the phone Saturday. She volunteered to distribute literature at the event and will bring friends and a homemade sign to the tea party.
Americans for Prosperity typically focuses opposition on state and local spending, but the national stimulus package and bank and automotive company bailouts have drawn more attention to national policies, they said.
Lewandowski thinks 500 sign-toting people will attend the Concord event to hear speakers tell them the public is taxed enough already.
Statewide, he expects about 2,500 people at tea party events. There are some 17 groups sponsoring or co-sponsoring the tea parties, he said. The groups all advocate fiscal responsibility.
So does Lewandowski, whose primary job is with a public relations firm.
"You can spend your money better than the government can spend your money," he said.
Lewandowski adamantly opposes proposed increases to the state gas, cigarette, and rooms and meals taxes.
So does Maravelias, a vocal opponent of local school spending on a track and athletic field for the new high school.
Maravelias said he is accustomed to being on the outside and in the minority as a taxpayer advocate. But things are changing. More people are getting involved in the movement.
He and Lewandowski hope that Wednesday's tea party marks the beginning of a taxpayer revolution.
"Just maybe, this won't be a one-time event in their life, and they will continue on the road of political activism to make politicians accountable," Maravelias said.
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