Voters in Nebraska, our neighbor to the northwest, defeated an attempt to weaken the legislature's two-term limit last week by a margin of 2 to 1. A proposed constitutional amendment would have extended it to three terms.
While many here in Missouri argue that term limits harm the legislature because it forces out experienced legislators, no one seems able to quantify that impact. Do term limited state legislatures perform more poorly than state legislatures without such limits? If that was the case, one would expect someone to have conducted that study by now.
In Missouri, the average years of service for House members in 2001 was 5 years; in the Senate it was 9 years. So for many cases the 8-year limits have no real impact. David Valentine at the University of Missouri argues that as a result there is less "knowledge:"
Tenure can be viewed as a surrogate for knowledge about state government, the legislative process and the chamber in which members serve. The equivalency is very rough and highly dependent upon the characteristics of individual members. Nonetheless, the fundamental proposition is that a member with five years’ tenure will know more than one with only one year and the same logic applies to differentials across general assemblies.
So his conclusion is rough and highly dependent. Paul Jacob over at the blog This Is Common Sense argues that even the premise is flawed:
But could some other knowledge be of import to legislating, to governing? Like the knowledge of running a business and how laws and regulations impact business? Or could teaching experience provide insight into education policy? Or working in health care or agriculture or . . . well, you get the point.
Where term limits unarguably do have an effect is in stopping members of a general assembly for serving 20 or 30 years and therefore accumulating great personal power. This is when legislators fall out of touch with voters as did Sen. Dick Lugar, or fall afoul of the law like Rep. Dan Rostenkowski.
will always be people or organizations with a great deal of influence
in any capitol city be they unions, employers, fundraisers, contributors
or just oversized personalities. It's the nature of any organization.
But when it comes to conducting the people's business, no one should get
too comfortable in public office.
11/14/2012 1:35:29 PM
Efforts to use public funds to revive Kansas City's jazz district have failed, and likely always will.
Answering individual aggression with government aggression will not lead us to the society we desire.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is wrong when it says that Kansas is going to fall of a fiscal cliff with its pro-growth tax reforms, and that Missouri will do the same if it follows the same path.
Randy Georges Sr. moved to the U.S. to obtain a good education; now, he may have to move across town so his kids can have the same opportunity. This is a sad state, especially when alternatives, such as giving families private school options, exist.
Missouri has at least two chances to win the Border War.
The state’s foundation formula for K-12 education is currently underfunded. Some are calling for more spending, but freedom, not money, is the answer to our problem.
Should Missouri and other states accept an offer of “free money” from Uncle Sam to expand the Medicaid program in their states? Instead of acting as enablers of fiscal profligacy, Missouri and other states should say “no.”
Conservatives ought to consider these items before ceding state power to the federal government.
Proposition B might have brought some much-needed funding for education, but voters turned down the measure. The “no” vote may actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise if legislators act on the need to address school funding issues.
Letters regarding Jacob Turk's race for Congress.
Missouri and Kansas have maintained a steady rivalry for decades, but Kansas' latest tax reforms have changed the competitive landscape between the two states — decidedly in Kansas' favor.
The state board of education voted to grant provisional accreditation to the Saint Louis Public School District, which is the correct decision, but this distinction will mean very little to schools or students.
Subsidies to Ballpark Village and other big-city sports complexes are a gift to some of our wealthiest citizens — sports team owners — that provide little or no broader economic benefit.
Strong teachers’ unions in large public school districts with multiple failing schools will do everything possible to maintain their jobs and benefits. If it is to happen, major reform must come from outside the existing system — through increased competition and choice.
Taxpayer-funded lobbying for local government entities likely will not be banned so it is time to create transparency so citizens can see how their money is being spent.