Can you look into a crystal ball and see the future?

Well, I cannot so today I attended the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation Annual forecast luncheon.  The ADEC is a group of business and business owners that work to drive the economy of Anchorage forward.  The investor luncheon is a great forum to see what the new year may bring.

This years event was the largest luncheon crowd ever in Anchorage Alaska; with over 1400 attendees.  There were several speakers, Governor Parnell, Mayor Sullivan, and keynote speaker Stephen Dubner, the co-author of 'Superfreakeconomics"


I visited Facebook prior to the luncheon and a good friend left me this comment:

"the ADEC Economic Forecast is going to be largely dependant on the pending legislative review of ACES (Alaska's Clear and Equitable Share, Alaska's state oil tax legislation). ACES is reducing new oil development projects on state owned leases. Yes, it drives up State Revenue, but it comes at the expense of new investment and jobs which ... See More largely drives real estate prices and demand for local goods and services. I'd be interested to know what assumptions ADEC uses regarding ACES future (it will probably be NO CHANGE since no one knows if we will be successful in lowering these tax rates). The good news is that oil development on Federal leases (Liberty etc.) are NOT affected by ACES as these are taxed on the lower MMS rates (Mineral Management Services). "

Governor Parnell did address this point and one of the hot topics in Juneau this year will be tax relief for companies that invest in Alaska.  Gov. Parnell also spoke about placing excess funds in an account for infrastructure maintenance in the coming years.  It appears we have good leadership for the time being.

Mayor Sullivan spoke to the issue of the city budget, and he likened it to the city being on a diet.  Less spending and minimal new bond packages for the short term will bring about some property tax relief.  The City is going to be hard pressed to provide the services everyone wants without raising taxes.  The City of Anchorage will be looking for federal money to match its investment in improving the Port of Anchorage; which will provide new jobs and growth.

The Keynote speaker, Stehen Dubner, was fantastic.  I will be reading his book 'Superfreakenomoics" tonight.  He mixed current economics with humor in a way that makes one really think.  Many of the national policies currently under review have great economic implications.  He covered global warming, monkeys, and prostitution; in that order but in a very funny way.  Mr. Dubner really got one thinking about possibilities, but as he explained we are creatures of habit, can we change?

It was a great lunch and the forecast is for job losses, approximately 1200.  Many of these are related to tourism; there will be a reduction by 10% in the number of cruise ships coming to Alaska.  Now this forecast does not include Military growth, or the self employed.  These areas are growing and will offset the losses.  The ADEC does expect to see moderate growth in the second half of 2010.  take a look at the documents I provided from the ADEC and feel free to comment below.