New Report On Baltimore Term Limits Proposition
Question K is A Great First Step
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Rockville, MD (October 18, 2022) — The Maryland Public Policy Institute has released a new report examining the benefits of term limits. Baltimore City voters will make the critical decision of whether to subject certain city officials to such limits in 21 days.
Question K on the Nov. 8 ballot in Baltimore City will ask voters if they want the Mayor, City Council President, City Council Members, and Comptroller to serve no more than two consecutive full terms and no more than eight years over a 12-year period.
“The only group of people for whom term limits are a major inconvenient is politicians,” said Dylan Diggs, the report’s author. “By approving Question K, Baltimore City voters will force their local political leaders to work for their vote rather than enjoying the fruits of incumbency and the fawning of special interests. This will make it more likely that city politicians treat their jobs as a temporary service their community before they, again, return to the normal world outside of politics or are forced to earn new votes for a different political position.”
The report, titled “Term Limits For Baltimore City: Ok with Question K,” explains that term limits are both popular in Maryland and support a more open system of governance.
When the question of implementing term limits has been put to elected politicians it has unfortunately been shot down—as it was by the Baltimore City Council in 2017 and in the state legislature in 2018 after Gov. Hogan proposed term limits for the General Assembly. When it has been put to voters, however, the issue has found much success.
Voters in Prince Georges County instituted term limits in 1992, for example, and rejected local politicians’ efforts to rescind them in 2000. Montgomery County approved term limits in a 2016 measure that received 69 percent support from voters.
“Term limits are by no means a cure-all for the many ills that plague Baltimore,” Diggs said. “But Question K’s approval would undoubtedly be a healthy development. It has the potential to weaken the entrenched nature of the lobby system and challenge lazy incumbents who too often treat city government as a personal service.”
Numerous common arguments against term limits are presented in the report, though they do not survive scrutiny.
“Whether detractors of term limits argue that the restrictions are anti-democratic, turn incumbents into lame ducks, or harm institutional memory, it is critical that Baltimoreans keep one fact in mind: Our democratic system relies on open access to power, so no single person should be seen as indispensable.”
The Maryland Public Policy Institute is a nonpartisan public policy research and education organization that focuses on state policy issues. The Institute’s mission is to formulate and promote public policies at all levels of government based on principles of free enterprise, limited government, and civil society. Learn more at mdpolicy.org.