Last Updated July 2017 with information on the legislative session.
Does this page look familiar? That’s because it probably is. I’ve been updating this PFD information page since 2008. As a life-long Alaskan, the PFD is, of course, on my list of interest. As a website owner, I thought, what the heck, why not add a news and update page for the PFD? At the very top of the page you’ll always see a “last updated” message to verify all info is current and from this year.
When will the 2017 PFD be announced?
The amount of the Alaska permanent fund dividend is usually announced in mid-September, typically the 18th to 22nd sometime.
Will There Be a 2017 PFD?
As the state faces a budget “crisis,” attempts to restructure the PFD program to fund the government continue.
Governor Walker’s push for the PFD began with SB 128 in 2015, which passed in the Senate, but failed to pass in the House and was deemed “dead” as the session ended. However, Walker was bent on cutting into the PFD…
On June 29, he vetoed a portion of the PFD funding on the state budget limiting the 2016 PFD to $1,000. That has never been done before, but any veto can be overridden by the legislature with a majority vote. None the less, they did not use that power and the veto stood.
Walker released his budget plan for 2017 on December 15, 2016. This plan included a new (nearly identical) bill to SB 128. This, and other bills like it, struggled for passage, and remained undecided as the legislative session (and extensive special sessions) came to a close. Regardless, the operating budget did pass in both the House and Senate on June 22, 2017. This budget appropriated only $8,611,800 for PFD payments versus $1,501,000,000 by the normal calculation method. This is expected to cap PFDs around $1,100, where as by the normal method, PFDs were projected at $2,220. As no bill has been passed to permanently change the calculation method, the fight continues to save the Alaskan PFD. The legislature took up the capital budget in a late-July special session and passed a budget that also does not fully fund PFDs on July 27, 2017. This leaves the outcome of the Supreme court case to restore 2016’s PFD the last hope of restoring the PFD to it’s rightful amount.
There is currently a campaign to recall Walker as well as a law suit.
Updates on the Walker Recall:
Signature drives are ongoing across the state, though the group has been unavailable to provide a current signature count to me. You can find dates and times for events near you via the recall walker Facebook page found here or the recall Walker website.
Updates on the court case:
Bill Wielechowski, along with former Republican Alaska Senate presidents, Clem Tillion and Rick Halford, filed a suit September 16, which was later ruled in the State’s favor on November 17, 2016 by Judge William Morse. Wielechowski has filed an appeal with the Supreme court. There was a hearing on Tuesday, June 20 at 1:30pm. No verdict was issued during this hearing, it was stated a written response would be issued later (no date was promised).
Updates can be viewed on the state website here.
Supreme Court Case No. S16558
How much was the 2016 PFD and how much will the 2017 PFD be?
The 2016 PFD was $1,022, just over the $1,000 cap. For the 2017 PFD, the current budget has set PFD’s at $1,100.
How much would have the 2016 PFD have been without the cap?
As many of us know, the PFD amount is usually calculated using the last five years of the fund’s returns by:
-Adding the fund’s Statutory Net Income from the last 5 years.
-Multiplying by 21%.
-Dividing by 2.
-Subtracting the prior year obligations, expenses and PFD program operations.
-Dividing by the number of eligible applicants.
The fund did well in 2011 and 2013 gaining 20.6 percent and 10.5 percent respectfully, but in 2012, not so much. Volatile global stock markets added this extremely low year to the mix. It was that low year that dropped the PFD amount below $1,000 in 2013 as the high year in 2008 dropped off. Luckily, in 2014 and 2015, the fund had rebounded and the PFD amount came back up with it. Last years numbers were as follows:
(expressed as millions rounded)
FY 2011 2,143 -dropping off this year
FY 2012 1,568
FY 2013 2,928
FY 2014 3,531
FY 2015: 2,907
As low years begin to fall away, the fund should have offered high returns for residents over the next few years.
Just how high?
The actual 2016 PFD amount should have been $2,052. This means Walker robbed each and every Alaskan of about $1,022 or half their PFD.
The 2017 Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend has not been given a disbursement date, but typically this is early October.