2012-09-07 / Editorial/Opinion

Term Limits For State Legislators

When, in 1887, the first Lord Acton said that “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” he was speaking about the New York State Legislature. Wave readers do not need a recounting of the ways our state politicians have shown again and again and again that their corruption knows no bounds. State Senator Shirley Huntley was arrested last week on charges of conspiracy, falsifying documents and tampering with evidence. State Senator Malcolm Smith is under investigation by so many law enforcement agencies that they are too numerous to count in this space. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, perhaps the most powerful politician in Albany, has just admitted to paying public money to cover up a sex scandal in the Assembly. We believe that the corruption comes, in part, from the fact that no incumbent ever loses unless he or she commits a criminal act and is found out. There needs to be a limit on how long a politician can serve in Albany and eight years sounds just about right. Term limits has been a success in the city, bringing in new blood and setting limits on how long the miscreants can serve before getting the boot and hopefully long before they get the power to pull off crimes against the voters. It’s time for a New York State Constitutional Convention to make the necessary changes.

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