ALASKA: Dividend Could Reach $2000 This Year as it Remains Under Threat


Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD)–the closest policy to Basic Income existing in the world today–could reach over $2000 this year, but it remains under threat as Alaskan politicians seek ways to close the budget deficit.

According to KTUU TV, Bill Popp, the head of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation predicted that this year’s PFD will reach $2,000. The PFD varies each year because it is financed by an investment fund owned by the state. It is paid each year to every Alaskan U.S. citizen who fills out a form verifying their residency in the state. Last year the PDF was $1884. A payout of $2000 would be close to the record high dividend of $2,069.00 of 2008. It will still be far below 2008’s full payment, which included a $1200 supplement from the state’s budget surplus that year.

Alaska’s Dividend is so popular that recent editorials have suggested linking the PFD application to voter registration to encourage more people to vote. However, it is under attack because declining oil exports coupled with declining oil prices have created a large budget deficit. This budget pressure does not directly affect the PFD because it is financed by its own dedicated investment fund of more than $50 billion. However, politicians have increasingly been talking about redirect money from that fund to the regular state budget to help close the deficit. One recent editorial suggests capping the dividend at $1000 and using the rest of the money for the regular state budget.

For more information see:

Kortnie Horazdovsky, “2015 Permanent Fund Dividend could hit $2000, AEDC says,” KTUU-TV, Jul 29, 2015

Dermot Cole, “Linking voter registration to PFD would create fundamental change.Alaska Dispatch News, August 2, 2015

Elise Patkotak, “How about this? If you don’t vote, you don’t get a PFD.Alaska Dispatch News, July 28, 2015.Brian O’Connor, “Sustainable Alaska: Tax package likely necessary to plug $2.7b budget hole.The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, August 1, 2015.

Picture credit CC Timothy Wildey

Karl Widerquist

About Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist has written 875 articles.

Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University. He specializes in political philosophy. His research is mostly in the area of distributive justice—the ethics of who has what. He holds two doctorates—one in Political Theory form Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996). Before coming to Georgetown he was lecturer in Political Theory at the University of Reading (UK) and a Murphy Fellow at Tulane University in New Orleans (LA). He has written or edited six books. He is the author of "Independence, propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No" (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). He is coauthor of "Economics for Social Workers" (Columbia University Press 2002). He is coeditor of "Basic Income: An Anthology of Contemporary Research" (Wiley-Blackwell 2013), "Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend: Examining its Suitability as a Model" (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), "Exporting the Alaska Model: Adapting the Permanent Fund Dividend for Reform around the World" (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), and "the Ethics and Economics of the Basic Income Guarantee" (Ashgate 2005). He is currently under contract to author or coauthor two more books: "Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy" (Edinburgh University Press 2014) and Justice as the Pursuit of Accord (Palgrave Macmillan 2015). He was a founding editor of the journal Basic Income Studies. He edited the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and the BIEN NewsFlash for five years. He is one of the founding editors of Basic Income News on the website. He has published more than a twenty scholarly articles and book chapters. His articles have appeared in journals such as Political Studies; the Eastern Economic Journal; Politics and Society; and Politics, Philosophy, and Economics.

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