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TODAY: TEA Party rally slated in New Richmond

Taxpayers fed up with the rising cost of government are planning a rally in front of New Richmond's city hall April 15.

The local rally is one of about 2,000 that will be conducted nationally on tax deadline day in an effort to draw attention to growing discontent among some over how the current economic crisis is being handled.

According to organizers, the largest rally in Wisconsin is likely to occur in Madison that day.

Buses filled with protesters are scheduled to converge on the capitol for a mid-day rally there.

For those who can't make the trip, smaller events are being planned elsewhere.

Jim Sopland, New Richmond, has agreed to serve as the local coordinator of the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) party rally. The event will run from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15.

"This is all just getting me motivated to be involved," he said. "I've e-mail the president and contact my representatives and senators and nothing seems to happen. This is just another was to protest what's going wrong with this country."

Specifically, Sopland said he's frustrated with the way taxes and spending are spiraling out of control.

"The more you tax, the less money people have to spend," he said.

As a businessman in the retail hearing aid industry, Sopland said he can see what rising taxes do to employers and employees alike.

He also has numerous clients who are immigrants from other countries, and the growing taxation problem is hurting many of them. Many immigrants are telling him they are contemplating a return to their homelands due to the economic troubles here.

Sopland said he invites anyone who is fed up with rising taxes to join him on TEA party rally day.

"We might march a little and hold up some picket signs," he said, adding he doesn't expect things to become too unruly. "I don't think there's going to be a need for a police force there."

With any luck, Sopland said he's expecting between 20 and 50 people to show up for the event.

For more information, contact Sopland at 715-307-2870.

The national movement behind the April 15 rallies is being led by the American Family Association. The organization is working with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's "Renewing American Leadership" effort.

Among the group's concerns:

• Congress is spending trillions of borrowed dollars, leaving a debt that future generations will have to repay.

• Congress voted for a $500 billion tax bill without even reading the final draft.

• The apparent trend by the federal government of punishing those who practice responsible financial behavior while rewarding those who do not.

• The push to redistribute wealth in the U.S.

American Family Association is a pro-family advocacy organization with more than 2.5 million online supporters.

For more information on the TEA Party effort, visit A list of cities participating in the April 15 event is available on the Web site. At the top of the site is a gross national debt ticker that continues to climb at a fast rate.