BANGOR, Maine — Close to 80 people marched outside the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building in Bangor on Saturday to demand that President Donald Trump release his tax returns.
The protesters chanted “I pay my taxes! Show me your taxes,” “Tax cuts for all, not just the 1 percent,” “Truth, Trump, Taxes!” and “I Vanka see your taxes,” to name a few. The signs they held up expressed similar sentiments.
The protest in Bangor took place on the April 15 deadline to file tax returns and pay any outstanding taxes. But this year the deadline was pushed back until Tuesday since Tax Day fell on a weekend.
Similar protests were held in more than 150 cities across the country, where protesters sought to bring attention to Trump’s refusal to disclose his tax returns, according to Reuters.
Presidents are not required to release their returns, but they have voluntarily done so since the early 1970s. Trump is the first president to buck this tradition with his refusal to publicly release his returns.
Trump has rebuffed calls to release his tax returns, saying he cannot release them because he is being audited. The Internal Revenue Service has said that Trump can release his tax returns even while under audit.
“Obviously, the ramification of our tax policies that are giving more and more away to the millionaires and billionaires at the expense of sick people is a major concern,” Sam Portera, a Bangor-area organizer for the Maine People’s Alliance, said when asked what he thought drew between 80 and 100 people to the protest.
“I think a lot of people are concerned that Donald Trump still has not released his tax returns, but I think that this is a clear indication that we think millionaires and billionaires like Donald Trump should be paying their fair share in taxes so that everybody can get the basic necessities that they need,” he said.
Dave Frankel of Orono said that there are other issues for which he feels strongly, but he is concerned about Trump’s lack of transparency in not disclosing his returns.
“There’s so many possibilities for corruption and conflict of interest that we just don’t know about,” he said.
Kathy Lyons, also of Orono, said she turned out because she believes it is important that Maine’s congressional delegation members know that many of their constituents oppose Trump’s decision to keep his tax returns private
Lyons said that while she’s always followed politics, it wasn’t until Trump’s election that she became really active.
“I went to the Women’s March [on Washington]. My whole family did,” she said. “That was incredible the most empowering experience of my life,” she said.
The Bangor demonstration was one of 15 Tax Day protests held across Maine, according to the Maine War Tax Resistance Center.
Others — some scheduled for Monday and Tuesday — were set for Belfast, Bethel, Blue Hill, Brunswick, Damariscotta, Waterville and University of Maine campuses in Farmington and Machias.