Last Updated Sept, 2018: The 2018 PFD is $1,600, and will be disbursed October 4th.
NEW: I’ve created a full list of our House and Senate members with their PFD stance by voting record. What color is your representative?
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 was the 2018 PFD announced?
The amount of the Alaska permanent fund dividend is usually announced in mid-September, typically the 18th to 22nd sometime, but in 2017 and 2018, there was not an announcement. At random, on September 4, 2018, the PFD division website began sporting the message below– just a quick note that the 2018 PFD is $1,600. This was similar to the routine in 2017, though the message appeared Sept 14.
What’s happening with the PFD? How did it get cut?
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…
In June 2017, he vetoed a portion of the PFD funding on the state budget limiting the 2016 PFD to $1,000. That had 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’s 2017 budget proposal 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. This budget appropriated only $8,611,800 for PFD payments versus $1,501,000,000 by the normal calculation method. This capped 2017 PFDs at $1,100, where as by the normal method, PFDs were projected at $2,220. The legislature took up the capital budget in a late-July special session and likewise passed a budget that also did not fully fund PFDs. Walker’s 2018 budget proposal continued to push his agenda with SB 26.
On May 8, 2018, SB 26 passed the legislature. This bill caps withdrawals from the Permanent Fund at 5.25 percent for the next three years before dropping to 5 percent. The current PFD statutory formula will be used to calculate PFDs, but the government’s draw and the PFD are calculated in the “total” draw. As a result, in the future, legislatures and governors may take funds for government first, giving the people the scraps in PFD form (clearly, your author thinks this bill is a bad thing, no unclear bias here).
There is currently a campaign to recall Walker and previously was a law suit.
Updates on the Walker Recall:
Signature drives seem to have mostly stopped, and the group has been unavailable to provide a current signature count to me. You can find dates and times for events near you (assuming there are any) via the recall walker Facebook page found here or the recall Walker website. At this point, with 2018 being an election year, the best thing you can do to get Walker out of office is to VOTE. The general election is November, 6th.
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 by Judge William Morse. Wielechowski filed an appeal with the Supreme court, but a verdict was rendered August 25, 2017 upholding the superior court’s decision.
How much were the 2016 and 2017 PFD, and how much will the 2018 PFD be?
The 2016 PFD was $1,022, just over the $1,000 cap. The 2017 PFD was set at the cap of $1,100, and the 2018 PFD is set at $1,600. Had 2018 been “fully funded,” it would have been between $2,400 and $3,000 PFD with $2,982 being a commonly quoted number by legislative members.
How much would have the 2016-2018 PFDs 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.
Below are the statutory net income numbers which should be used to calculate the PFD:
(expressed as millions rounded)
FY 2012 1,568-dropped off in 2017.
FY 2013 2,928-dropping in 2018.
FY 2014 3,531
FY 2015: 2,907
FY 2016: 2,198
FY 2017: 3,214
FY 2018: TBA
As low years have fallen away, the fund should have offered high returns for residents over the next few years.
Just how high?
The Senate democrats of Alaska website has now added a calculator families can use to check how much PFD’s cut have cost them. Per person, that number is currently at about $3,733– a major blow to families with kids. For instance, I’m a single mom of 4, and am out $18,665. PFD estimates for the last 3 years are as follows:
2016: $2,083 vs $1,022 paid
2017: $2,390 vs $1,100 paid
2018: $2,982 vs $1,600 to be paid
The 2018 Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend will begin disbursement October 4th.