A couple of quotes from the Founding Fathers and some Presidents on taxes. While they all seem to state their understanding of the need for taxes, the usual idea is that it is on the onus of the government to tax as little as possible, respect the idea of it not being the government's money and that they have an obligation to explain how the money will be spent.
George Washington - Founding Father & U.S. President (1789 – 1797)
"...it is essential that you should practically bear in mind that towards the payment of debts there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant."
Thomas Jefferson - Founding Father & U.S. President (1797 – 1801)
"The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public monies."
"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."
James Madison - Founding Father & U.S. President (1809 – 1817)
"I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents..."
"The power of taxing people and their property is essential to the very existence of government."
Benjamin Franklin - Founding Father
"It would be a hard government that should tax its people one-tenth part of their income."
"Friends and neighbors complain that taxes are indeed very heavy, and if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might the more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly."
John Marshall - Founding Father & 4th U.S. Chief Justice
"The power to tax is the power to destroy."
Samuel Adams - Founding Father
"If taxes are laid upon us without our having a legal representation where they are laid, we are reduced from the character of free subjects to the state of tributary slaves."
Calvin Coolidge - U.S. President (1923 - 1929)
"Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery."
Franklin D. Roosevelt - U.S. President (1933 - 1945)
"Taxes, after all, are dues that we pay for the privileges of membership in an organized society."
Jimmy Carter - U.S. President (1977 - 1981)
"The federal income tax system is a disgrace to the human race."
Ronald Reagan - U.S. President (1981 - 1989)
"The taxpayer - that's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination."
"We don't have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven't taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much."
"The government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."
George W. Bush - U.S. President (2001 - 2009)
"Let me tell you my thoughts about tax relief. When your economy is kind of ooching along, it's important to let people have more of their own money."
J. Danforth Quayle - U.S. Vice President (1989 - 1993)
"Our party has been accused of fooling the public by calling tax increases 'revenue enhancement'. Not so. No one was fooled."