EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

April 13, 2009

Windham men hope for taxpayer revolt

Windham homeowners schedule tea party Wednesday

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.

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