Economics 101 For Elected Officials

Feb 1, 2013

Illinois legislators this year could be asked to vote on everything from changes to how the state taxes corporations to raising the minimum wage. Republican Senator Dave Syverson of Rockford says before they make decisions on issues that affect the economy, they should learn more about it.

Syverson proposes lawmakers take an economics course every two years. He says he thinks many legislators who've tried to do a good job are shocked by what he called the "horrendous results" of their decisions.

"And it's because I think those decisions are  made on how that legislation affects one particular group in that one particular period of time.  Where economics is how does that decision affect that group for a long term, and how does it affect all the taxpayers statewide" Syverson said.

Syverson suggests business organizations and other groups work with community colleges to develop the eight-hour course.

Syverson acknowledges legislators have to vote on a range of subjects they may know little about. For example, politicians from Chicago have to vote on farming measures while lawmakers from downstate vote on Chicago public transit issues.

But he says an economics course would provide a base education. Syverson's plan won't require lawmakers be graded.