The Legislature should enact term limits for governor

Texas should limit the governor to 8 years, and now might be a particularly good time to pass it.

Traditionally, governors of Texas have not served for a long time. Until Rick Perry, the longest continuously serving governor in Texas' history was Allan Shivers' 7.5 years as governor. Bill Clements later served 8 years, but spread over two terms (78-82, 86-90). Texas has historically had a relatively weak executive, and that has helped constrain government. After 10 years in office, Perry has strengthened executive powers, both formally and informally. Republicans haven't minded, but are probably still cognizant that a stronger executive branch can increase the reach of government in the future.

36 states have some form of term limits for the governor. Two of the 14 states without term limits elect their governor every two years, which is almost as effective -- and how Texas used to do it until 1972.

Right now is probably a unique moment where most factions have an incentive to pass term limits.

Democrats -- Most Democrats would vote for it just because they are unhappy with Rick Perry.

Republicans -- Most Republicans are still in favor of term limits in most cases, as a curb on the power of government, so they'd vote for it.

Rick Perry -- Although he might be tempted to see it as a rebuke, term limits would make it awfully hard for anyone to ever supplant his record of 14 years as governor of Texas (assuming he finishes his term).

Posted by Evan @ 12/03/10 01:20 PM


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Agreed, except that I might be open to a limit of two consecutive terms.

Which are the two states that have bi-annual elections?

Posted by Freeman @ 12/03/10 02:41 PM

Vermont and New Hampshire both enact their governors every election cycle.

Two terms of four years each is what I consider to be ideal.

Posted by Rick Perry vs World @ 12/03/10 08:36 PM

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