Last Updated June 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, a bill aimed to cap the PFD at $1,000 to $1,500 (depending on the version of the bill you were reading) for a number of years before converting to a new calculation formula based on land and resource royalties. In June 2015, an amended version of SB 128 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. This has never been done before, but any veto can be overridden by the legislature with a majority vote. There was a deadline of July 15, 2016 to hold this vote. A request for said vote was made by Senator Bill Wielechowski of Anchorage. This request was ruled out of order by the majority leader, John Coghill of North Pole, who stated that, traditionally, the request was made by the House.
The House issued said request, but the Senate rejected it, stating that the last meeting before the deadline would be a “technical session” with only enough members present to keep the special session alive, but not enough to move on any legislative action (What?!?). With the deadline passed, this meant the veto stood, and the 2016 PFD was capped at $1,000.
Walker released his budget plan for 2017 on December 15, 2016. This plan included a new (nearly identical) bill to SB 128, along with others, that are currently being heard in the House and Senate. These bills include:
SB 26: Takes 5.25% POMV draw, 25% for the PFD, 75% for government.
SB 21: Takes 4.5% POMV draw, 50% for the PFD, 50% for government.
SB 84: Takes 100% of “distributed income” rather than a POMV draw, 50% PFD, 50% government.
HB115: Takes 4.75% of POMV, 33% for the PFD, 67% government, adds an income tax.
SB 26 passed in the Senate on March 15, 2017.
Voted in favor of SB 26: Sens. Click Bishop and Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks; John Coghill, R-North Pole; Mia Costello, Cathy Giessel, Kevin Meyer and Natasha von Imhof, R-Anchorage; Anna MacKinnon, R-Eagle River; Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel; Peter Micciche, R-Soldtna; Bert Stedman, R-Sitka; and Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak.
Opposed: Sens. Tom Begich, Berta Gardner and Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage; Mike Dunleavy, Shelley Hughes and David Wilson, R-Wasilla; Dennis Egan, D-Juneau; and Donny Olson, D-Golovin.
SB 26 must still pass in the House.
On June 14, 2017 the House voted to keep the PFD calculation as-is in 2017 (SB 23 Amendment 1). This measure will still have to pass the Senate and Walker’s desk. The vote was 14 opposed, 26 in favor.
Voted to keep PFD: Matt Claman, D-Anchorage, Harriet Drummond, D-Anchorage, David Eastham, R-Wasilla, Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, Zach Fansler, D-Bethel, Neal Foster, D-Nome, David Guttenburg, D-Fairbanks, Delena Johnson, R-Palmer, Scott Kawaski, D-Fairbanks, Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, Charisse Millett, R-Anchorage, Charisse Millett, R-Big Lake, Justin Parish, D-Juneau, George Rauscher, R-Wasilla, Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River, Dan Saddler, R-Eagle River, Paul Seaton, R-Homer, Ivy Spohnholz, D-Anchorage, Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, R-Wasilla, David Talerico, R-Fairbanks, Geran Tarr, D-Anchorage, Cathy Tilton, R-Wasilla, Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage, Dean Westlake, D-Juneau, Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole.
Voted against PFD: Chris Birch, R-Anchorage, Mike Chenault, R-Nikkiski, Les Gara, D-Anchorage, Jason Grenn NA-Anchorage, Jennifer Johnston, R-Anchorage, Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage, Sam Kito, D-Juneau, Chuck Kopp, R-Anchorage, Gary Knopp, R-Soldotna, Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, D-Sitka, Dan Ortiz, NA-Ketchikan, Lance Pruitt, R-Anchorage, Steve Thompson, R-Fairbanks, Adam Wool, D- Fairbanks.
Senator Mike Dunleavy of Wasilla has also filed several new bills that attempt to restore the vetoed half of the 2015 PFD and protect it in the future.
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:
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, if the calculation method remains unchanged and no veto occurs, amendment 1 that passed in the House this June estimated a transfer of $1,501,000,000. This makes an estimate easy, but still a bit rough. Last year applications were at 675,599 equating to a PFD around $2,221.73 assuming no change in applicant numbers. Historically, the applicant number does increase by about 3,000 per year.
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.