No one leaves the Texas State Senate without a few legislative regrets. High on my list is the failure—but not for want of trying over four years—to implement term limits.
Now, every schoolchild in the state is taught the dangers of lifetime political office, usually by way of old King George. Every adult seems to have forgotten the lesson. So, it may come as a surprise that while our elected officeholders in Austin do not serve by royal appointment, they can indeed serve an infinite number of terms. Who needs the British monarchy when we do such a fine job entrenching our own political class!
Whether it’s ignorance, apathy, or confidence—politicians of both parties have bamboozled the public. Our lack of term limits is harming Texas citizens.
To better appreciate the need for term limits, it is helpful first to understand the psychology of the career politician. To do this, let’s start with the freshman member. He is excited and energized. The promises of the campaign trail are still fresh in mind. “I’ve been elected to get things done,” he reflects. The incentive of re-election remains before him.
After a few terms, the mentality shifts. Now a career politician propped up nicely by powerful special interests, he has confidence his well-oiled political machine will keep humming so long as he does not monkey under the hood. Consequently, his political decision-making tacks in favor of the lobbyists and monied men who keep him in office. He plays it safe. He is increasingly isolated from his constituents, more entrenched in the political establishment. He knows who butters his bread, and who circles the wagon. Life is good, and reelection rates are a healthy 95 percent—why take risks? Politicians just give lip service to the voters on the campaign trail, knowing they will never have to be held accountable for those promises.
The voter does not see a shift in perspective but ends up feeling the results. The same status quo bills are introduced and passed. Any meaningful legislation is watered down thanks to the back-room pork trade. And this psychological enervation happens, to be clear, to any office holder that is not term-limited.
The solution, however, is easy. Introduce term limits. Once set, just like our free-market economic system, we will see healthy competition and innovative ideas from newcomers, as past office-holders step down. The constraints of time will incline representatives toward action. Special interests will find their secret purchasing power curtailed.
The legislation I filed in the Texas Senate proposed the following, which I revived recently through the Huffines Liberty Foundation. First, 8-year term limits for governors and all other statewide elected officials. Second, cap the limit for every other elected office in Texas—from judges all the way down to HOA—to 12 years. Finally, 6-year limits for committee chairs and Speaker of the House. These limits are, I think, reasonable, crucially allowing elected officials time to execute their promises to the people.
I encourage you to think hard about what causes the Swamp in Austin. At the moment, nowhere in this freedom-loving state of ours do laws requiring term limits for elected public positions exist. Since both the Texas Republican and Democrat platforms are in favor of term limits, of course, many politicians clamor and bang about it … until it comes time to act. Then bills mysteriously die in committee.
Well, my friends, consider the curtain peeled back. Unsurprisingly, no legislation on term limits was filed this session. We have time to change this.
Don Huffines is a former State Senator, self-made businessman, and proud fifth-generation Texan. You can keep up with his work advancing liberty, prosperity, and virtue at HuffinesLiberty.com and follow him @DonHuffines on Twitter and other social media. Huffines’ column, Liberty Report, runs weekly in The Dallas Express.
Completely agree. We need citizen office holders, not professional politicians leading our local governments, state government and federal government in our Great Republic.
Maybe, but half-crazed political panhandlers who suggest overthrowing the ‘government’ might not be the best choice.
When they standby and assist the invasion, its time to overthrow them by term limiting them. Maybe you dont understand the concept that he referred to a peaceful way to accomplish that (TERM LIMITS in case you still dont get it)
You mean, overthrowing the government is a “concept” like the U.S. Capitol insurrection was a “hallucination”? Using a word that is open to misinterpretation and lawbreaking conflict is poor choice, especially when trying to sell a “peaceful” activity.
Thank you Mr. Huffines.
You should include a list of every politician that has voted against your legislation.
Unfortunately, most of our legislators are more afraid of the lobbyists than their own constituents. There are legislators who have served in Austin since the 1970’s. Those people need to retire and give someone not yet tainted, a chance to serve their constituents. Term limits will go a long way to improve the situation.
Lobbying has always been the bigger threat to the people. A new set of laws that ends any donations from any corporation for any election might be in order.
The real question is why does a fictitious person (a corporation or a non-profit) have the right to direct election funds or other financial support to politicians at all? Why do politicians have the right to become lobbyists? Why isn’t there a law that assure they can not lobby for at least 7 years after holding office? What about not being able to hold employment in any company that benefitted from their vote?
There are much better ways to deal with career politicians, and we need to close those lucrative income doors before we decide to create term limits. The issue is that no legislator will end his future ability to profit from his past political benefit to aa company or organization. That is the issue.
Huffines is just upset because he is not serving currently. I highly recommend to go back and watch the Legislative Sessions he was in and all he supposedly got done
Actually, he was redistricted out of office because he would not go along to get along, and he could not be bought. He is the only state legislator in Texas who never took a nickel for his service.
Gee Sara, at least you should thank him for his removal of the marxist traffic cams!!
he is saying what most want
It seems that the legislation that does pass only benefits small special interests and not the majority of citizens.
I agree with term limits and independent committees drawing voting district lines. Allowing the party in the majority to draw voting district lines is insane.
Awesome discussion and agree that education is the answer. Once educated, if We The People still don’t want it, then we deserve what we’ve settled for. On another note, I was VERY disappointed that Gov Abbott did not appoint State Senator Huffines to head a Blue Ribbon Committee with the goal to eliminate property taxes, one of the platforms Sen Huffines ran on during the gubernatorial primary campaign. As a senior and retired now, the heavy lifting of property taxes, especially the Robin Hood penalty, are forcing draconian cuts in lifestyle. Maybe if the kids were actually getting educated in the public schools, the sting of the high property taxes would be muted somewhat. Sadly, that’s not the case and the system needs to be scrapped and redone. Com’on GOV Abbott, no watered down Property Tax reform again this year!!
abbott days should be numbered he is not a true conservative
True, but at least he’s interested in our conservative views every 4 years…..I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that it just so happens to be around election time…
I agree with you, and the bulk of our tax burdens are school taxes. We need reform of both taxing entities. Gov. Gregg Abbott is a puppet controlled by the globalist Bush Family, and Abbott’s sole purpose is to increase crony corporatism in this state which benefits the already wealthy. During the primary capaign Abbott was pushed on the border situation, so he began addressing that issue before the election, and after the election the issue has faded out of site. RINO Allen West is the reason Don Huffines did not win in the primary and WEst was placed in the race to do just that. People do not know enough about Allen West and West ran on his military service. I owe thanks to West for his military service, but I do not owe him my vote. I have followed West since he was forced out of the military by Obama and ran for Florida House seat on the Tea Party wave. He did not get relected in Flordia because of the way West voted once he took office, and that should be enough said about him even though there is more.
It is imperative that we suport Don Huffines at Huffines Liberty.com.
He is one of the few that is brave enough to stand up and speak the truth.. Thank you for your time.
The school tax industrial complex is a Marxist Tax imposed on property that should NEVER be subject to taxation. You might as well send Abbott to the WEF because he is useless in protecting and preserving basic liberties.
We need to reduce all taxation to a cash register tax only. History has proven that when TOTAL taxation exceeds 17.5% of income the fall of society and the government begins. Every society in the history of man has proven this. In fact the most common records in existence for ancient society are…..TAX RECORDS.
The power and expansion of every society has maximized at around 10% total tax, the fall of society begins at 17.5% taxation. We need to begin to recognize that total taxation above that level leads to destruction of society. Exclude all food items, and medicines as well as toothpaste and toothbrushes etc., and rebate the taxes for a base amount of clothing etc. The rest should be taxed at a maximum to 17% including state, federal and local taxes. Property should not even be a consideration any longer.
Originally, the right to vote was related to paying property taxes, as everyone can now vote, there is no need to employ huge departments of government to assess taxes. Pay as you go is much better.
Many of the elderly struggle to pay the increased taxes of property when on fixed income. Many actually lose their property. A fixed rate tax that eliminates the IRS etc, eliminates the need for accountants in general would be welcomed by the people.
Liberty Report !
We all need to keep pounding the pulpit for liberty and our freedoms.
Repeat the message.
I totally agree. They are never going to agree to term limits. The only way to gt rid of them is to elect someone else the next time. I’ve been trying to do this for years but I’m afraid there are those who either vote straight Republican or Democrat and the same people keep getting reelected.
term limits and being held to account. and a faster way to remove a bad apple by voters. also looks to me the majority has failed to pick a legit speaker for some time now.
Add this suggestion to the term policy: No lawyers, secret society members, dual citizens, or anyone with compromised allegiances need apply. Those who disregard this law after conviction will be expeditiously hanged at Noon on the First Friday of every month in front of the Alamo.
Thank you for bringing light to what really happens when politicians stay in office too long. Terms limits is a must across the board! I have always said that we need to get rid of the parties. Everyone should run as an independent. People would then focus on what each one really stands for. This will keep them more accountable!
So… Don it seems what you are saying is that the average citizen is too stupid to manage their own affairs’ and elect competent Congressmen, Senators and Governors , that will uphold our Constitution…which I agree. Then the ones we do elect that are supposedly “good” and do support our Constitutional Republic will be swayed by the establishment to no longer support “America” due to “keeping their job” and protecting themselves, but not America. Which means they really weren’t real Americans in the first place.
So what about you Don? If you are doing a good job and protecting our Constitutional Republic why wouldn’t we want you to stay in office for 20+ years?
I agree the average American is uninformed and weak and does not pay attention to what is going on and still thinks Main stream media is telling the truth. But when Texas doe’s
find someone like YOU to protect Texas from the communist’s, we should be able to keep you in office.
So I do not support term limits, but support making sure we have election integrity “ONLY AMERICAN CITIZENS” can vote” and transparency and re-awaken Americans to pay attention to WTF is going on.
Thank you! I moved to Texas 18 months ago. Second to the sticker shock of the property taxes was the realization that this state does not have term limits. Best way to describe Texas politics Insanity-continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.