By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – The late Barbara Anderson, of Citizens for Limited Taxation and Government, was an unforgettable person.

But the single biggest part of her public legacy might not be so unforgettable – if we somehow let it be diminished and forgotten.

That would be Proposition 2 ½, the 1980 ballot initiative that gave voters the power to veto sharp increases in their property taxes.

Back in the 1970s, state and local taxation seemed out of control; we paid the third-highest share of income in taxes in the country. The same culture of reckless spending that has us on the hook for huge pension and retiree-benefit obligations now was well underway then.

Prop. 2 ½ wasn’t just about limiting tax hikes. It was a populist demand that arrogant political elites and special interests undergo an attitude adjustment, re-balance their priorities, and stop treating the working classes like an ATM.

In our deep blue state, activist government is popular, and plenty of us cash a check from it.

But it was Barbara Anderson’s political genius to see that the appeal of giving power to the people over such a crucial economic issue transcended partisan and class boundaries.

The public-employee unions will make sure there are more efforts to “fix” Prop. 2 ½ .

How well they’re countered will be a test of whether or not Barbara’s legacy will endure.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Jon Keller

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