CALUMET - As they did in the 18th century, Americans are rising up to protest what they view as oppressive and unfair British taxation.
The difference is, now it's in solidarity with the British.
The Keweenaw Kernewek, a local group for people of Cornish descent, is gathering signatures in opposition to a recently enacted 20 percent tax on takeout snacks. That includes the pasty, the meat pie brought over to the Upper Peninsula by Cornish miners and since designated as Michigan's state food.
Daily Mining Gazette/Garrett Neese
Edie Hopper of Calumet Township signs a petition in Calumet Friday protesting the United Kingdom’s new 20 percent tax on pasties and other takeout items. Members of the Keweenaw Kernewek, a local group for those interested in Cornish heritage, plan to bring the petition to Calumet’s twin city of Camborne in Cornwall, England later this month.
The government intended the new tax as a way to counteract takeout foods' exemption from the value-added tax, which Britain's government has argued is necessary to help reduce the country's deficit.
Jean Ellis, a co-founder of the Keweenaw Kernewek, is part of a four-member delegation that will be taking the petition to its twin town of Camborne in Cornwall, England later this month. The petition will then be presentd to Camborne's representative in Parliament.
The petition was available to sign Friday night and will be offered again today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Merchants and Miners Bank Building on Fifth Street in Calumet. Shortly after 5 p.m. Friday, almost 30 people had signed.
"Hopefully with widespread input and support, they'll do something about this tax," Ellis said. "I mean, 20 percent is a huge amount."
One of those signers was Theodosia Bedore of Lake Linden.
"I think that's an outrageous tax for a pasty," she said.
While Britons and sympathetic Yoopers may be bemoaning the tax, it's been a boon locally. Charlie Hopper, general manager of Pasty Central in Calumet Township, said orders for his pasties have skyrocketed since the tax was imposed.
"If we had it all the time like that, we would sell over 100,000 pasties more a year," he said.