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Welcome to 2018 and the Official Launch of Alaska Business


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Happy New Year! We’re extremely excited for the upcoming year and so are many of you, according to the wide range of contributors to our 2018 Economic Outlook Special Section. Looking back at 2017, a variety of factors contributed to a less-than-stellar year for Alaska—tax credit cuts for the oil and gas industry, continued lower-for-longer oil prices, and the resulting trickle-down effect, to name a few— yet even those have not dampened the state’s hopeful expectations for the year ahead. 
We too are hopeful that 2018 will bring an end to the cycle of fewer jobs leading to less disposable income leading to less spending in retail and hospitality businesses leading to a stagnating population causing more layoffs—and the cycle continues. 
The loss of oil and gas industry jobs has been particularly devastating over the past few years. Why? Because for every direct oil-related job, there are nine additional jobs supported by oil and gas activities and thirteen more jobs that are supported by oil-related taxes and royalties, according to a report commissioned by the Alaska Oil & Gas Association and published by the McDowell Group in mid-2017. 
The general consensus among industry leaders and public officials who contributed to our 2018 Economic Outlook starting on page 8, is that, in order for Alaska to emerge from this cycle, the state’s government must create and implement a fiscal plan that supports the oil and gas industry by paying the tax credits many feel the industry is owed since the Alaska Legislature passed HB111. Only companies producing less than 50,000 barrels of daily oil production are eligible for tax credits under HB111, which means Alaska’s largest producers (including BP and ConocoPhillips) cannot claim their expected payments. The move also caused BlueCrest and Caelus Energy Alaska to delay drilling because they have not received the oil-tax credit money they expected to continue operating. 
“If Governor Walker can develop and carry out a plan to pay what is owed in tax credits, a number of projects in Cook Inlet and the North Slope will get new life—that means jobs for Alaskans and tax revenue for the state,” Representative Jason Grenn told Alaska Business, a sentiment echoed by many of our readers and guest contributors. 
Along with the various and fascinating views about what to expect in the upcoming year, this issue features our annual Junior Achievement Special Section in which we recognize the many accomplishments this incredible program has made toward inspiring and preparing young people to believe in themselves and learn the basic principles of how to succeed in an entrepreneur-based, global economy. We also profile Junior Achievement’s Alaska Business Hall of Fame 2017 Laureates.
And, while the state’s trials, tribulations, and victories continue to swirl around us, we’re in the midst of some big changes of our own here at Alaska Business. 
Jason Martin, our general manager, weighs in: “Beginning in early 2017 we began a soft roll out on the rebranding of our thirty-three-year-old name. We came to the conclusion that Alaska Business Monthly no longer covers all we do, and we needed a name that better represents the full spectrum of our coverage and who we are while still paying homage to our roots and our long-standing commitment to Alaska business.”
Since 1984 we have evolved to become more than a monthly magazine. Along with our position as the premier source for business news and information in a monthly print format, we are also a digital app, a weekly e-newsletter—keep an eye out for the Alaska Business Monitor—and a vibrant, thought-provoking website that is undergoing a major revamp in the coming months complete with exclusive, original content, exciting guest authors, and many more surprises to come.
To help us usher in this new age, we’ve brought aboard Arie Henry, the Alaska Business Digital and Social Media Strategist. If you’ve noticed increased activity on our Facebook and Twitter pages lately, Henry is to thank. We’re thrilled to have him on the Alaska Business team, helping us better communicate with you. 
"Our mission is to provide a positive voice for business and industry in Alaska while championing the economic growth of business in all of Alaska. We strive to achieve this through thought-provoking editorial and award-winning design," says Martin. 
 
Welcome to 2018 with Alaska Business!
 

—Kathryn Mackenzie, Managing Editor, Alaska Business

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