2007-12-07 / Editorial/Opinion

Eight Is Enough - Term Limits For State Officials

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, one of the front-runners for the Democratic nod for Mayor in 2009, has done the right thing for city voters. On Monday, she abandoned any plans the council has to extend term limits on New York City elected officials. "I will neither support legislation nor will I support a new referendum eliminating or altering term limits," Quinn said on Monday. The move by the most powerful Democrat in the council may well spell an end to the planned move on the part of a large group of council members who want to extend the limits to 12 years, from the present eight, by passing an enabling bill itself or by seeking another voter referendum on the subject. The public has already spoken twice on the matter, in 1993 and again, in 1996. In each case, the voters chose an eight-year term limit for all city officers, including the council, the comptroller, the public advocate and the mayor. The term limits have been a boon to New Yorkers, and we don't want to see the council sneak through the back door and snatch four more years by the use of a loophole in the original law, that may allow them to make the change without going through the voters. That loophole allows the councilmembers to vote an enabling resolution to make the change and then allows the state legislature to let them do it. We hope that does not happen. In fact, we would like to see term limits expanded to state officials as well. After 20 years of covering state government, we are convinced that eight is enough - eight years, that is. We would like to see the term limits extended to all statewide elected officials, including our Assemblymembers, state senators, state officials and the governor. Now, being a state legislator is a life-time appointment. The return rate is something akin to 98 percent. We need change and we need fresh air in the state, as we already have in the city. Let's keep citywide term limits and then extend them to the state. That's a referendum we would like to see.

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