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Table Rock Lake and the cost of economic activity

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Kathleen O’Dell’s article about the economic impact of Table Rock Lake in today’s Springfield News-Leader, entitled “Table Rock Dam Gives Much Back to Area,” covers a lot of ground in describing the various kinds of economic activities that are related to the construction and continued existence of Table Rock Lake.

In an economic sense, is the Table Rock Lake area fit (efficient and nimble) or obese (expensive to maintain and subject to falls)? As pointed out below, the two counties most affected by Table Rock Lake have experienced the area’s lowest growth in Read the rest of this entry


Film production injects dollars into Ozarks

The filming of Daniel Woodrell‘s novel “Winter’s Bone” at various locations in the Forsyth area will conclude next week. The story of the novel and movie concerns an Ozarks family affected by meth and violence. The silver lining to this depiction is that the process of making a movie puts cash from elsewhere into the local economy. This time of year, especially, that seems to be a good thing, since local unemployment is in double digits.

Jerry, Raeanne and Andrea at Cantina Laredo

Jerry, Raeanne and Andrea

I was invited to lunch yesterday by Jerry Jones, director of the Missouri Film Commission, who was making a visit to the set. I dined at Cantina Laredo with Jerry, his wife Pam (who is my friend from college days), Branson mayor Raeanne Presley, Steve Olson of Springfield, Bill Lennon of Branson, and Andrea Sporcic, assistant director of the Film Commission.

When Mayor Presley was on the Missouri Tourism Commission, she became acquainted with the work of the Missouri Film Commission, whose effectiveness in recruiting film productions to Missouri depends on Missouri’s film tax credit program, which provides an incentive for filmmakers to come to Missouri in the form of state tax credits for those film productions that spend a substantial amount of money in the state.

The production company has been lodged at Branson Landing, with a production office at the Branson Landing Convention Center. The company has hired extras locally and at least one local has a speaking part. Read the rest of this entry

Is tourism impoverishing?

Many community leaders are jealous of the sales tax revenue and economic activity generated by tourism. They wish that their own communities had some of what Branson and other tourist towns have (the municipal revenue, the perceived business opportunities, and options for shopping, dining, entertainment and outdoor activities), but not the other stuff (the seasonal economy, the high percentage of residents who move in and move out, the number of business failures, the constant need to expand schools, the high sales taxes, the traffic snarls, the disorder of constant construction projects, etc.). Read the rest of this entry

Wish list for the Ozarks economy

Congress is going to do something. The House has approved a stimulus package, full of all kinds of goodies–only a few months after “earmarks” was a dirty, dirty word. And the Senate will put a few more pork cutlets into the package.


But what do we need in the Ozarks?

Whatever we don’t get here will go somewhere else. No matter how ineffective cash infusions are when injected elsewhere, we’d like it to have it go to waste in the Ozarks, where we know how to spend wisely because we’re not liberals mostly.

We might as well make a list Read the rest of this entry

What 2009 holds for Ozarks real estate

My law firm clients are asking me what I expect. They know that I represent a variety of real estate developers active in the area around Branson and Table Rock Lake, where the pace of sales of single-family homes and condo units seemed to slow in early 2008 then nearly stop altogther by mid-2008. My name has shown up in newspapers and public records in relation to my representation of creditors of several large, distressed projects.

When my clients ask me about the future, my first reactions are how would I know and am I really being asked if my other clients are hurting, too? Many of them are hurting, badly.

Here are my ideas about the prospects for 2009: Read the rest of this entry

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