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Jane Hart Stops Paying Taxes

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(Copyright 1972, Boom Newspapers, Inc. ) WASHINGTON - Declaring she is "ready to accept any sanctions that apI ply," the wife of Sen. Philip A. Hart, DMich. has stopped paying federal income taxes to protest America's role in the ViI etnam war. Mrs. Jane Hart, heiress to a Detroit I automobile fortune and mother of eight, linstead placed a $6,200 quarterly tax Ipayment, due May 15, in a special bank I account. "I cannot contribute one more dollar I toward the purchase of more bombs and I bullets," she wrote in a letter to the InI ternal Revenue Service. I The Washington bureau of The Ann I I bor News obtained a copy of the 1 e 1 1 e r I land Mrs. Hart confirmed that she had I Irefused to make the payment. ] "As a citizen, I feel the kind of I I ation that decent Germans must have I I feit in the thirties," she said. "I can't be I I a party to any more of this and still feel I I like an honest person." Sen. Hart said he and his wife are in I I "total agreement" on the war. But he I I said he opposes nonpayment of taxes as I I a way of protest. "I respect her decisión although I I don't agree with it," Hart said. "If I ery citizen were allowed to pay taxes for I only those programs he liked, then there I could be no rational structure of I ment." Mrs. Hart became active in the I I war movement during the Johnson I I ministration. She was among scores of I I demonstrators arrested at a 1969 peace I I service in the Pentagon, but the I I tions were recently overturned by the I I U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at I I mond, Va. Mrs. Hart said she has not been ■ I tacted by the IRS since writing the letter I I on May 10. The Harts file a joint return 1 I and Hart, a three-term senator, said he I I sent a check for his estimated tax. He I I did not say how much he paid. IRS Commissioner Johnnie M. Walters I I had no immediate comment today when I lasked what action the agency might I Itake. It has been government policy not to I Bfile criminal charges for failure to I ■ mit payments of estimated taxes, 1 I cording to IRS sources. The usual I I tice is to assess a 6 per cent fine on the I I amount due and to sometimes seize bank I I holdings or other property. Mrs. Hart said she was unaware of the I I legal consequences when she made her I I decisión. She said she had been thinking j I of this form of protest for some time, I and reached a final decisión the night I I President Nixon announced the mining I I of North Vietnamese harbors. Sen. Hart said he discussed the letter I I with his wife but did not try to talk her I I out of writing it. I "I just don't feel that the withholding I I of taxes is the best way to protest," he I I said. "We've had a number of long, 1 I el talks about it and it has always been I I my view that if you withhold tax sup-l I port because of a governmental action I I that you disapprove, then you must logi-l I cally allow the same privilege to others. "Some might be anguished by the war," Hart said, "others might honestly find their consciences offended by federal welfare programs, aid to private colleges or subsidies to some industry." Mrs. Hart said these arguments "slowed me down for a while. But we do have a tradition of respect for conscientious objectors in this country, providing their protest is limited to war and wartime killing," she said. "It is on that basis that I decided to go ahead. ■lm convinced that in Vietnam we are killing innocent people without cause and my conscience just will not allow me to quietly accept that," she said. "There is no vital American interest to be served by killing more people and churning up more countryside with bomb 1 craters. "The other day I read that the i nam war has cost us to date $185 billion. i If we had spent a quarter of that amount I on our educational system, there would I be no busing issue today. "It anguishes me to break the law and I I am ready to accept any sanctions that I apply. But I cannot silently watch this I go on any longer." Hart said that while he disagrees with I the action his wife has taken, he would I be more upset if she didn't follow her I conscience. "I find myself in the curious position I of being proud of a decisión that I disagree with," he said. ____


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