Forget beltway politics. As presidential candidates pitch their respective remedies for the nation's financial woes, Alaskan eyes gleam a little brighter knowing that doing nothing more than calling the Last Frontier home leads to a reliable autumn bank account bulge.
This year, the payment will be $1,174. The dividend comes from royalty payments on Alaska's oil.
Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell revealed the amount Tuesday during a press conference. "This is truly one of the great duties as Alaska's governor," he said as he delivered the news.
People who chose to direct deposit their PFD will cash in Oct. 6. Checks for everyone else will be mailed out that same day.
And thus begins the quest by retailers to encourage Alaskans to spend the annual infusion of cash. This year, more than 647,000 Alaskans will receive dividends, making $760 million up for grabs. Some will buy tickets to Hawaii. Others will use it for down payments on a car, snowmachine or boat. Some will load up on any number of items stocked at big box stores like Costco and Sams Clubs, from food to furniture to car tires. Some may pay bills. Some may donate the money. The more disciplined won’t touch it, instead placing it into savings or a college fund.
The largest payout in the dividend’s 30 year history occurred in 2008, when the dividend reached $2,069. Parnell warned that while the dividend this year is healthy, Alaskans could face diminished amounts in the years ahead, in part from the performance of the stock market and also due to an anticipated decline in oil revenues due to lower oil production.
Contact Jill Burke at jill(at)alaskadispatch.com