This is in response to Kevin Wilson’s guest column (Globe, Jan. 25 ) defending legislators’ authority to spend Proposition A approved taxes. I agree, legislators made no “promises” (his quotation marks). Of course the government did, in that the government, whoever that might be, approved the language for the issue upon which voters acted. But certainly legislators should not be constrained by the “government.” Excuse me, how about being constrained by voters?

By placing the issue to raise taxes on casinos and using those taxes strictly for schools, the government made a commitment to the people to do just that. Implied, though perhaps not specifically stated, was the further commitment to use existing school funding mechanisms to ensure that schools got their fair share of the new funds. That is what voters approved and that is how the money should be used.

Suppose a ballot initiative proposed new taxes to support black cows. For whatever reason, it was approved. Then some legislator said: “I want to spend some of that money on brown cows as well, and that is my ‘right’ as a legislator.”

This all boils down to trust, Mr. Wilson — not legalities, not spin, not whatever else it might be called. Voters said to raise taxes to further support schools. Just do it and don’t try to siphon off some or all of that money for your or anyone else’s pet rock. We the voters did not raise taxes just for teachers’ pay, special education, sporting events, whatever other special need you may have in mind. We agreed to raise taxes for “schools” just like the “government” asked us for permission to do.

Please leave it at that and don’t try to make wiggle room to use money for something not in the original bargain (call it a ballot issue) between the government and the voters. It is all about trust.

Anson Burlingame


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