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

About Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist has written 982 articles.

Karl Widerquist is a Professor of political philosophy at Georgetown University-Qatar. He specializes in distributive justice—the ethics of who has what. Much of his work involves Universal Basic Income (UBI). He is a co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG). He served as co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) for 7 years, and a member of the BIEN EC for 14 years. He was the Editor of the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and of the BIEN NewsFlash for 4 years. He is a cofounder of BIEN’s news website, Basic Income News. He is a cofounder of the journal "Basic Income Studies." Widerquist has published several books and many articles on UBI both in academic journals and in the popular media. He has appeared on or been quoted by many major media outlets, such as NPR’s On Point, NPR’s Marketplace, PRI’s the World, CNBC, Al-Jazeera, 538, Vice, Dissent, the New York Times, Forbes, the Financial Times, and the Atlantic Monthly, which called him “a leader of the worldwide basic income movement.” Most of Karl Widerquist's academic writing is available at his research website (Widerquist.com). For more information about him, see his BIEN profile (https://basicincome.org/news/2016/12/bien-profiles-karl-widerquist-co-chair/).