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The principle of “no taxation without representation” is fundamentally rooted in America’s founding ideals. The American Revolution was fought over it. However, the age-old rally call shouldn’t be filed away in the history books just yet.

Marc Cohen, a 17-year-old from Williamsville, has modernized this notion, which is closely aligned with the nation’s call for independence. He gives the slogan an entirely new objective, unearthing the issue of representation once again.

Marc’s concept: People under the age of 18 who pay taxes should have a right to vote.

Originally, it was the colonists lacking a proper vote. Now, Marc believes, “that’s the situation for minors who are wage earners today.” They are the underdogs unable to obtain adequate representation.

Last year, when Marc started the group No Taxation Without Representation, hundreds of teenagers got a chance to voice their opinion. Many agree that representation is necessary for any taxpaying citizen. In addition, the group has a steady stream of support from adults.

Over the last year or so, the University at Albany freshman says he has spoken with or met about 40 lawmakers ranging from city council members to the governor. His goal is to convince government officials that there is reason to give voting rights to these minors.

He often asks this basic question: “Shouldn’t every taxpayer have the right to vote for those representatives who make the decisions as to how and where their money is allocated?”

Marc stresses that while he may be the figurehead of the group, “little could be done if there weren’t representatives willing to hear the idea out.”

“I am extremely thankful that they want to make a difference,” Marc says.

Former Rep. John LaFalce has even served as a mentor to Marc.

Looking at the long term, Marc says he would “…love to see an amendment passed to include taxpaying teenagers.” Yet, he also understands the drastic amount of change necessary for such a feat.

“The aim is to raise awareness,” Marc says.



Kendra Mayer is a senior at Williamsville East High School.