Big bucks are on the way to residents of Alaska as Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced the largest Permanent Fund dividend in state history.
The amount — $3,284 with the inclusion of a $650 energy relief check — was announced Thursday afternoon through a hard-to-hear Facebook Live event where Dunleavy stood at a lectern in a Three Bears Alaska store in Palmer, next to a giant, covered check containing this year’s amount. A ballpark total for the PFD has been known for months, but the exact total was unknown prior to the announcement.
“It’s been a difficult year or two for Alaska with the virus, with the supply change issues, now with inflation,” Dunleavy said.” What we’re going to do here today is going to help folks out there tremendously.”
This year’s amount tops the previous record high PFD in 2008 when $2,069 was distributed plus a $1,200 Alaska Resource Rebate. This year’s dividend the second-largest when adjusted for inflation.
“For a family of five, that’s over $16,000 that’s going to help pay for a lot of things,” Dunleavy said. “Everything from fuel, food, medical bills, car repairs, rent, you name it. It’s going to help.”
While many commenters on the Facebook live event either thanked or condemned Dunleavy’s announcement, according to the overflow of comments, many viewers had their eyes turned away from the giant check and toward the governor’s face which was noticeably red.
Jeff Turner, the deputy director of communications at the office of Governor Mike Dunleavy, said it was due to medicine the governor is using due to “sun damage issues.”
Qualified applicants can expect a direct deposit — if opted for — starting Sept. 20, or a paper check sent the week of Oct. 6. The distribution comes earlier than usual, which Dunleavy said is to aid residents as they prepare for winter costs.
• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.