Over the last 20 years, New York State has had two governors resign from office in disgrace, a third voluntarily choose not to run while engulfed in allegations of unethical and illegal behavior, a Comptroller convicted of corruption, an Attorney General resign over allegations of abuse, two Senate Majority Leaders convicted of corruption and a former Assembly Speaker die in prison.
The constant pursuit of power and the subsequent effort to maintain it is a key driver behind the rampant corruption that plagues New York State government. Career politicians, who often spend decades accumulating power, are motivated to do whatever it takes to maintain it, not act in the best interests of taxpayers.
It is time to reign in that power and place term limits on all statewide elected officials in New York. Doing so would increase trust and transparency in government and is wildly popular with voters, as Unite NY’s Voter Empowerment Index found deep, bipartisan support for enacting this commonsense reform.
How we got here
Term limits have been placed on 36 governors, mayors in eight of the largest ten cities in the country and 15 legislatures. Yet in New York, state elected officials are free to run as many times as they choose, as there has never been any term limits placed on state elected officials. In some cases, politicians are in office for more than four or five decades, and fight to maintain the power that comes with “public service.” This has contributed to New York’s well documented history of corruption, leading to countless officials stepping down or being convicted of crimes while serving in office.