Axing Taxes - The First Amendment Battle of an "Ax the Tax" Crusader
How Doug Guetzloe Helped Save Taxpayers $50 Billion
Authored by Gerald William Shaw
This book about Orlando activist, political consultant, and radio show host, Doug Guetzloe will open your eyes to how local politics work - and the influence it has over your life and the national playing field that governs our country.
Doug Guetzloe has led his grassroots organization, Ax the Tax, to numerous victories over wasteful government spending through the defeat of unnecessary tax proposals. He formed a nationwide alliance with anti-tax supporters, but also gained political enemies who tried to silence him along the way, including sending him to jail for the petty offense of not providing a disclaimer on a political mailer. Guetzloe is the only person in America "sentenced to incarceration due to missing seven words on a flier." And the sentence occurred after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled such a disclaimer was unconstitutional.
Guetzloe anticipated opposition to his political views and anti-tax campaigns, but never imagined being jailed on his First Amendment rights. It was not the seven words missing on a political flier that irked Guetzloe's enemies and resulted in an unusually harsh jail sentence for something so trivial. It was Guetzloe himself who annoyed the speech police. The underhanded attacks on him have sometimes backfired. A car identical to his went up in flames one night in front of his house. But that attempt to silence him led to the conviction of a high-ranking Florida official for shady dealings with a casino. In another case, jurors took 30 minutes to vindicate him following a phony theft charge.
Little did special interests realize the indomitable spirit they created when Guetzloe stepped forward in 1982 to form Ax the Tax, the organization that would be at the core of conflict and resistance against the political establishment for the next three decades, saving taxpayers billions of dollars through major victories over proposed tax increases.
Guetzloe gained the admiration of supporters and even those who at times disagreed with him politically. His single-handed efforts at creating grassroots organizations during uphill battles provided average citizens with a determination and belief they could indeed take on seemingly insurmountable odds and beat City Hall, no matter how powerful. Guetzloe taught them they were not serfs who needed handouts and breadcrumbs from the power-hungry elite. His devotion to individualism and a deep affection for the exceptional American spirit led to his emergence as a bold leader who rallied a strong citizenry to overcome government schemes, scams and deceptions.
He has withstood the unpleasant threats, public attacks on his personal life and imprisonment, but held on to the strong values that shaped his belief in securing economic freedom for others, many of whom have learned the value of grassroots organizing to end the government intrusion into their lives. The messenger and the message endure.
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