Musings about the efficacy of terms limits brought such thinking to the surface. My Baton Rouge Advocate colleague Mark Ballard did a story on that topic on the angle that term limits may have had something to do with the heightened level of conflict within the Legislature over the past few months. In short, according to the piece imposition of limits “sapped legislators of historical knowledge, hardened political positions, and undermined the relationships that are essential ingredients to actually operating the machinery of government, some lawmakers, lobbyists and political operatives say.”
Those taking that position include Sen. Pres. John Alario, state Sen. Francis Thompson (the two together have served as legislators for nearly a century), and longtime political operative Roy Fletcher. Their quotes revealed a pining for more compromise that they thought lacking these days, particularly in dealing with this fiscal year’s budget that ended in a compromised position – two billion dollars in taxes raised, but with half a million dollars in reductions from previous baseline spending (although the addition of new programs, most prominently Medicaid expansion, produced a budget almost $2 billion higher).