For the most part, elected officials that support Referendums are abdicating their responsibility to govern. While there are the rare instances of a question coming up that nobody could have anticipated in the last general election (thus, votes cast for candidates weren't influenced by their potential support or opposition of the question), most of the time, a Referendum is an elected body's way to dodge taking a public stand on a difficult issue.
Which is why what went down earlier today in Myrtle Beach SC is so damn refreshing. Despite public (and even editorial) calls for a Referendum to decide whether to continue a penny sales tax that has been an unequivocal win for the region's residents and taxpayers, the Mayor and City Council passed the resolution into law this afternoon.
Recently elected Mayor Brenda Bethune said that she made no attempt to hide her support of continuing the tax during her campaign last autumn. And, when she won in a landslide vote, "that basically was a referendum," she said. Thus, there was no reason to hold another.