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WSU Newsline: Elected officials find improving the economy a challenge
Wednesday, February 16, 2011 9:00 AM

The scripts are available for printing and for sound bite identification.

Go to http://www.wichita.edu/newsline to get the current Wichita State University Newsline. If you cannot access the Newsline at the Web address above, contact Joe Kleinsasser at (316) 978-3013 or cell (316) 204-8266 or joe.kleinsasser@wichita.edu.

Newsline cuts may be edited to suit your needs.

If you have additional questions for Hill after listening to the WSU Newsline, please call him at (316) 978-5184 or jeremy.hill@wichita.edu.

Background:
Most politicians want to balance the budget and create jobs. Of course, that's easier said than done. Jeremy Hill, director of the Center for Economic Development and Business Research at Wichita State University, explains why it's so difficult for newly elected politicians to have an immediate impact.

Voice wrap:
Announcer: Winning an election is one thing, controlling spending and helping the economy is another. Jeremy Hill, director of the Center for Economic Development and Business Research at Wichita State University, says elected officials get a dose of reality when they're in office.

Hill: "A lot of elected officials when they take office, they often want to go and affect the local economy, especially right now when it's of most importance. However, when they get in they actually will see that they have very little direct control over local spending and local budgets."

Announcer: Hill says the main way elected officials can affect the economy is by setting the budget. According to Hill, the problem is if you're newly elected, you actually inherit the budget from the previous year, so improvements aren't as quick as some might like. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.

Sound bite #1
Hill says local governments aren't very nimble, but they're also not very rash. The sound bite is 19 seconds and the outcue is "on the local economy."

Hill: "What we find is that local governments are not very nimble, but they're also not very rash. So what happens when the economy's growing really fast, governments tend to be much smaller than what citizens want. And when the economy is contracting, they're much larger than we want, which will put a strain on the local economy."

Sound bite #2
Hill says elected officials' greatest power to affect the economy is in setting the budget. The sound bite is 16 seconds and the outcue is "from the previous year."

Hill: "Elected officials' greatest power to affect the economy is actually setting the budget, that's not only looking at taxes and fees for services, but also what kind of spending they want the allocations. The problem is if you're newly elected, you actually will inherit the budget from the previous year."

Sound bite #3
Hill says discretionary decision-making is another way officials can affect the economy. The sound bite is 10 seconds and the outcue is "police services and jails."

Hill: "Elected officials' second greatest power to affect the economy is by discretionary decision-making. The problem is, a very little of the budget is discretionary. Most of the costs are in things like police services and jails."

Sound bite #4
Hill says many decisions by elected officials have a minor effect on the citizens' wallets. The sound bite is 20 seconds and the outcue is "actually get the benefit."

Hill: "Decisions by elected officials have, in most part, a minor effect on the citizens' wallets immediately. Elected officials can cut their taxes and fees for services, for example, like water and sewer, but those savings take quite a while before citizens actually get the benefit."

Sound bite #5
Hill says elected officials need to make tough decisions. The sound bite is 18 seconds and the outcue is "in a positive way."

Hill: "In my opinion, elected officials shouldn't be there to make friends, but to make tough decisions. To have a bigger impact on the economy, they should make decisions making good appointments to boards and committees, and make sure they get the right department heads and administrators that will make the sound decisions that affect the economy in a positive way."

Sound bite #6
Hill says elected officials need to adjust the size of government to meet the needs and wants of citizens. The sound bite is 19 seconds and the outcue is "what is affordable."

Hill: "The most difficult thing for elected officials to do is to actually listen to the citizens and adjust the size of government to meet the needs and wants that they have. In a wealthier community, they may not want a reduction in parks and services, for example. But in a low income area, governments need to adjust, based on what is affordable."

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Contact: Jeremy Hill, (316) 978-5184 or jeremy.hill@wichita.edu.