This screenshot from a video broadcast by the office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy shows the unveiling of the 2022 Permanent Fund dividend amount on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2022 at a Three Bears grocery store. Participating in the unveiling are Dunleavy aide Shannon Mason Phelps (left), Miranda Wagoner, and Dunleavy. (Video screenshot)
Eligible Alaskans will receive $3,284 per person starting Sept. 20, the result of a large Permanent Fund dividend and a special one-time payment funded by the Alaska Legislature.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced the amount on Thursday in a ceremony at a Three Bears grocery store, where a large novelty check sat next to a stand of roasted chicken.
Dunleavy, who is seeking re-election, said the payout will help Alaskans deal with the effects of inflation, including higher grocery costs.
“Today, especially this year, folks are having a tough time,” Dunleavy said.
“That’s going to help pay for a lot of things,” he said.
Dunleavy called the payout the largest dividend in state history, but when adjusted for inflation, the $2,622 dividend is the sixth-largest in the 40-year history of the program. After a $662 energy relief payment is added, it becomes the second-largest payout. The 2008 edition, which also included a one-time addition, remains the largest.
The 2021 dividend was $1,114.
The one-time payout and the dividend are both larger than expected by the Alaska Legislature earlier this year. Lawmakers budgeted $2.1 billion for the payout earlier this year but expected more eligible recipients.
According to the latest figures from the Alaska Department of Revenue, 634,000 current and former Alaskans will receive the dividend, a figure that is down slightly from last year. (Some members of the military and some college students remain eligible for dividends after leaving the state.)
The $2.1 billion, divided among the estimated number of recipients, resulted in Thursday’s amount.
Alaskans who applied for the PFD and asked for it to be direct-deposited will receive their money Sept. 20, the state’s Permanent Fund Dividend Division said.
Alaskans who filed a paper application or requested a paper check can expect to receive money starting the week of Oct. 3, the division said.
In his 2018 campaign for governor, Dunleavy pledged to pay a dividend of about $6,700, including back payments for amounts not paid over the previous years according to a formula in state law.
State legislators rejected those plans, saying they were financially unsustainable.
In the third year of his term, Dunleavy abandoned his campaign promise and proposed a new dividend payout formula, but lawmakers rejected it last year and used it this year on only a temporary, ad-hoc basis. He has said that any permanent change to the dividend formula should be subject to a vote by the public, and he and the Legislature haven’t been able to agree on a new formula.
As a result, a 1980s-era payout formula remains in state law but is regularly ignored by lawmakers, who are not required to follow it.
The issue of the dividend remains a campaign topic, and minutes after Dunleavy announced this year’s payout, his campaign sent out an automated text message.
“Mike Dunleavy fought for and delivered the largest PFD in state history,” it said in part, followed by a link for supporters to donate money.
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