Money comes and goes and makes the world go round.
Forty-two years ago in 1976, voters passed a constitutional amendment and established the Permanent Fund. Where or what would you spend $1,600 on? That’s the amount of this year’s PFD. The Permanent Fund Dividend started in 1976 in Alaska under Governor Jay Hammond. From February 1976 to April 1980, the Department of Revenue watched over the PFD’s assets. Two years ago, the fund was worth $55 billion from oil revenues.
The PFD is a dividend that every Alaskan looks forward to. The money is helpful in many ways. The streets are busy with people walking to and from the stores, the banks are clogged with people trying to cash their checks, and the towns and cities resound with vehicles passing by as people shop for the best deals. Some pay bills while others save. Some aren’t so fortunate. The following is a compilation of responses gathered when we asked people how they would be spending this year’s PFD.
“I’m not receiving one. Bills. Electronics, I guess, clothes, basically everything I need. Umm, my Honda. I’m sorry, I don’t have a PFD this year. I need to take care of bills and other obligations. Whatever. I guess get a snowmachine. Stove oil for the house I guess, maybe. Lots of bills. Hi, this year’s PFD I plan to do grocery shopping and pay off some bills, and I just moved back to Bethel about a year ago so pretty spendy on groceries, so that’s what it’s going to go towards. I don’t know what to spend it on. Car. I’ll spend my PFD on my wife; she’s the most beautiful girl in the world. Student loans are taking it. Bills. What am I going to spend my PFD on? On the right stuff I need for me and food to eat. Guess a rifle or shotgun. I pay bills with it. Bills. It doesn’t matter. Bills. Bills. Lotta things, I’ll figure it out. I don’t know if I’ll get mine. I don’t get one, IRS gets it. Uh, use it. I doubt I’ll get my PFD because I used the ambulance twice. I’m going to save it up for my daughter. I’m going to get furniture. Give it to the wife. Fuel, I’ll agree with her, she tells me what to do.”
The lowest PFD amount was $331.29 in 1984. The highest PFD amount of $2,072 was given three years ago in 2015. Ten years ago, in 2008, all the income that came from the state’s natural resources provided a one-time payment of $1,200 because Governor Sarah Palin signed SB 4002 and the PFD totaled $3,269. Once someone has established residency in Alaska, they must live in the state for a full calendar year before applying for a PFD.
Anyone 18 and older who applies for the PFD is chosen by a computer to serve on jury duty. For those of us who enjoy spending our PFD, let us not complain when we’re called to serve.