Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Allegheny Institute Doubts G20's Economic Impact

The Allegheny Institute says it does not think as much money was left in Pittsburgh during the G20 as some have estimated. The conservative think tank has released a policy brief regarding VisitPittsburgh's claims of a $35 million economic benefit to the the Pittsburgh region as a result of the G20 economic summit. The Allegheny Institute claims that the projection is unreasonable. The group looked at two indicators of economic impact for the region. They looked at RAD (Regional Asset District) revenues and hotel tax revenues. According to the policy brief RAD revenues were down in September of 2009 as compared to 2008, but hotel tax revenues increased by $600,000 representing an additional $8.5 million in hotel spending. Allegheny Institute senior research associate Frank Gamrat says the picture is incomplete because they were only able to analyze two sources but he believes the $35 million impact projection is still unreasonable because of the difficulty in quantifying the actual impact to the region.

Visit Pittsburgh has released a written response saying in part; "The Allegheny Institute fails to note that most of the 33 delegations associated with the Pittsburgh Summit were exempt from paying any taxes. These delegations represented over 3,500 attendees. In addition, security forces were also exempt from paying taxes. Used as the cornerstone for the Allegheny Institute’s faulty analysis, tax collections in this case are not a meaningful measurement of direct spending relating to the Pittsburgh Summit." "VisitPittsburgh stands behinds our estimate of $35 million in direct spending as a result of the Pittsburgh Summit."

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