Supporters of question #10 on Tiverton’s ballot this November 6 are claiming that it will do all sorts of wonderful things. They say it will allow the town to rework how we operate, especially funding necessary infrastructure and other capital expenses (like town vehicles) while lowering debt, saving money, and cutting taxes immediately and in the long-term, too!
There is too much to these claims to unpack them all, here, so let’s concentrate on a very important point: Question #10 wouldn’t do any of these things. It would only determine who decides which of these things to do or not to do, and unlike the rest of the town’s revenue, it would not be you, the voter and taxpayer, who decides, but seven Town Council members.
Those seven people would have total ability to control the casino revenue. Even the limit that it could only “be used for debt service, capital development, or infrastructure” isn’t much of a restriction. Most of the things that people would think of as corrupt slush-fund spending could be labeled as “capital,” and even when that label doesn’t apply, the council can take on $500,000 of debt without voter approval, for which it could then use casino money to pay for anything.