The 2019 Alaska Permanent Fund dividend will be $1,606, the state Department of Revenue announced Friday.
The annual check this year will be delivered to 631,000 Alaskans, most of the state population, and come largely from earnings of the state’s $64 billion fund that for decades has been seeded with income from oil-production revenue.
Alaska residents who filed online and chose direct deposit will see their PFD deposited on or shortly after Oct. 3, the state said. Those with paper applications or who chose checks will receive their PFDs starting Oct. 24.
The amount of the dividend has tied political leaders in knots, especially this year as Gov. Mike Dunleavy and some lawmakers sought a larger dividend based on the traditional formula used since 1982. Most in the Legislature preferred a smaller amount in order to stay below a 2018 spending cap.
To boost the amount of the dividend, lawmakers called for spending $172 million from the state’s Statutory Budget Reserve, and the governor accepted that plan.
[Dunleavy backs ‘incomplete’ $1,600 dividend and stands by most of his June budget vetoes]
Dunleavy has previously said he anticipates a third legislative special session this year in hopes of delivering the remainder of the traditional dividend he promised on the campaign trail.
This year’s dividend amount, similar to last year’s, is in line with the average annual payment since they began at $1,000 in 1982 when inflation is taken into account, said Mouhcine Guettabi, an economist with the University of Alaska Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research.
The checks should provide a short-term boost to the statewide economy, potentially adding about 4,700 jobs for about three months as retailers and restaurants and others see more business and add staff, based on past studies.
But there’s some uncertainty this year about how willing Alaskans will be able to open their pocketbook, given the large budget cuts made by the governor and Legislature this year and concern that more reductions are to come starting next year, causing some job loss, he said.
“The $100 million question is whether or not the economic uncertainty or anxiety results in people spending their money or not,” Guettabi said. “If everyone sits on their money or uses it to rent a U-Haul (to leave Alaska), there is no economic impact.”
Total distribution of the PFDs this year is $1.013 billion, the state said.
ADN reporter James Brooks contributed.