ALBANY — Gov. Kathy Hochul in her first State of the State address on Wednesday will propose limiting governors to two consecutive four-year terms, which would put New York in sync with many other states and distinguish her from former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who held office for more than a decade.
Hochul, a Democrat who took over when Cuomo resigned in August, said her proposal also would apply to the offices of lieutenant governor, comptroller and attorney general.
Hochul also will propose banning holders of the four statewide offices from earning outside income.
Thirty-six states impose some sort of term limits on governors.
New York, however, has been led by long-tenured chief executives for more than a half century.
Four men — Andrew and Mario Cuomo, both Democrats, and Republicans George Pataki and Nelson Rockefeller — served more than 10 years each.
George Clinton, New York’s first governor, holds the record, serving 22 years, though not consecutively.
Andrew Cuomo was in office nearly 11 years and planned on running for a fourth term before resigning to avoid a likely impeachment trial following an investigation that concluded he sexually harassed multiple women.
Cuomo has denied the allegations.
Hochul said instituting term limits and income bans would restore trust in government.
"I want people to believe in their government again," Hochul, a Buffalo Democrat, said in a statement Monday.
"With these bold reforms, we will ensure New Yorkers know their leaders work for them and are focused on serving the people of this state," Hochul said.
Hochul, New York’s first female governor, will make the term-limits proposal a highlight of her speech Wednesday, which is designed to outline her agenda going into a statewide election year.
But changing the law to impose term limits will be a heavy lift.
It would require approval from state legislators and, separately, voters in a statewide referendum.
And immediately, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx), one of New York’s most powerful elected leaders, threw cold water on the plan.
"I have always felt the ultimate time a person should serve in office should be decided by the people who cast their vote for or against an elected official when they are on the ballot," Heastie said.
"That being said, I will have to speak to the [Democratic] conference about term limits for statewide officials," he said.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) didn’t comment immediately.
Hochul’s move to limit governors' outside income also contrasts with Cuomo's practices.
Cuomo wrote two books while in office.
In 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuomo inked a $5.1 million book deal that later drew criticism.
An investigation overseen by the Assembly impeachment committee concluded Cuomo used state personnel and resources to write, publish and promote the book.
Cuomo has said aides who helped him were volunteering and doing so on their own, not state, time.
The state ethics commission since has used the Assembly findings to try to force Cuomo to turn over the $5.1 million to the state.
Cuomo's attorney has called the action illegal and vowed to oppose it in court.