Anchorage Economic Development Corp: We like PFDs, sometimes



The Anchorage Economic Development Corporation released its annual 3-Year Outlook Report Wednesday in a star-studded lunch meeting at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage.

It was a stark flip-flop from last year’s report, which stated that “a growing body of evidence indicates the recession is likely near its bottom and the local economy is poised for recovery.”

The AEDC previously anticipated that by this summer, Anchorage would be enjoying strong job growth, higher incomes, and a through-the-roof optimism score.

But according to AEDC, Anchorage’s Era of Good Feelings has come to a sudden end. All of this good news was thrown out the door. The reason? A $3,000 Permanent Fund dividend.

Gov. Michael Dunleavy’s vetoes of about $444 million from the state’s $8.7 billion operating budget—amounting to a total reduction of about 5 percent—will, according to the AEDC’s report, “promise to keep the local economy in recession”.

The governor’s reductions represent around 0.8 percent of Alaska’s $54 billion annual GDP, which the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis says grew over 3 percent in the past year.

Bill Popp, AEDC president and a former member of both the Gov. Bill Walker and Mayor Ethan Berkowitz transition teams, made the presentation.

According to a graph never previously included in an AEDC’s annual outlook report, the Permanent Fund dividend has absolutely nothing to do with employment (as if anyone ever claimed that it did):

The message from AEDC was clear: Paying a full PFD, and the 5 percent budget reduction needed to do so, is the impetus for Alaska’s coming economic troubles.

“While a large PFD may provide an infusion of personal income, its short-term benefits from an economy-wide perspective will not compensate” for the apparent economic bleed-out that will result from Alaska’s modest budget reductions.

What’s more, the AEDC seems to have quite a different position on the PFD than it has had in past years.

Ten years ago, AEDC similarly claimed that Alaskans ought to prepare for a deep recession, and said smaller Permanent Fund dividends would slow the economy.

“It is anticipated that growth will slow in the next three years due to slower employment growth, decreasing returns from investments in the stock market, lower profits for local businesses, and smaller Permanent Fund Dividend payments,” according to the 2009 report.

The AEDC also showed pro-PFD sentiments two years ago when it stated that “the annual Permanent Fund Dividend payment is typically one of the largest government transfers Anchorage residents receive each year. In 2016, the $1,022 payment was worth nearly $300 million to residents.”

If this was true three years ago, would a $3,000 PFD contribute three times that amount to Anchorage today? Would $900 million for one city outweigh the $444 million statewide in budget vetoes this year?


  1. Economic bleed out because of budget cuts is laughable. If the State does not trim its expenditures to getting closer to the revenue the Alaska economy will crash then it won’t make any difference. Governor Dunleavy is making the hard choices now before it becomes completely unsustainable.

  2. Oh Boy(!!!) … More ‘bally-hooing’ and expert diatribe from Left-of-Left Pop. I believe there’s various opportunities available in: Seattle, Portland, or San Francisco for Mr. Pop, to offer his superior wisdom, insights and talents!
    With Dunleavy and his Team, Alaska is now on the correct path forward of responsibility and common sense.

  3. AEDC is partially funded by the MOA.They are going to say what Berkowitz’s” blood sport” operatives tell them to say. The fact that it’s AEDC lends “indepedant ” legitimacy if you don’t understand the symbiotic relationship. I don’t expect anyone within half a mile of Berkowitz to understand anything about economics but I thought AEDC had economists on staff. To dismiss the infusion of one billion dollars into the Anchorage economy is something only a dIMOCRAT could do. Shame! Shame!

  4. I thought I saw the GCI logo on their report. I recall GCI taking out ads just a few years ago promoting budget cuts. Now they are against them?

  5. Boy is the stupid ever strong on here today! All these armchair economists telling it like they dream. Heheh!

  6. This is just my opinion but I’m sick and tired of the small handful of people getting to dictate what the real majority of the voters of Alaska said when we elected gov. Dunleavy to office he said what he was going to do and he’s doing just that the only reason the left is getting bolder is because us conservatives won’t wake the heck up and truly pull together and take care of business we are still the majority here in Alaska and we’re being beaten down by small minded socialist who don’t care about the poor or fighting drug dealers they care about what they can get from others no matter who gets hurt in the process we are going the way of California and New York who think it’s ok to kill baby’s after their born why are we letting these people dictate how and what we can do with our money Anchorage is turning Alaska into a socialist state and if we don’t stand for our country’s values which is judeao Christian then we might as well get whatever we deserve which is socialism and slavery to the government may God have mercy on our souls if we fall apart.

  7. You’re not even making any sense. You quote AEDC to support your argument and they were wrong. Who’s to say they won’t be wrong again?

    PFD’s are not the, “governments” funds. It is the people’s money. The governments stash is supposed to be 60% of oil and gas takes. Spending more than that is a no go. Continue to reduce and full PFD’s until we can have some respect for ourselves living within our means. Then we can call our, “government” OUR GOVERNMENT again and be proud of OUR GOVERNMENT again.

  8. Hardly shocked that an economic development group in love with government spending would adopt a pro-Keynesian economics stand. Give the money back to the people, they will make the best decisions. Government arrogance believes that it can spend the money better and more wisely.

Comments are closed.