Alaska editorial: $40 billion

This editorial first appeared in the Anchorage Daily News:

In about two months, the economic recovery that’s been more Wall Street than Main Street will come home to Alaska in the form of Permanent Fund dividend checks.

The good news is that the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. reported a banner year for Alaska’s savings in fiscal year 2011, with a return of 20.6 percent, mostly driven by those recovering stocks, and a fiscal year finish (June 30) of more than $40 billion for the first time in the fund’s history.

The bad news is that even with the dazzling return, 2011 dividends likely will be a little less than the $1,281 each of 2010. That’s because we’ve still got those recession years in the five-year rolling average used to calculate the dividend payments.

But we’ll take the annual blessing and be glad for it. The Permanent Fund will set aside about $800 million this year to pay dividends —that’s an $800 million shot in the arm to Alaska’s economy, our individual shares of Alaska’s oil wealth. And not a dime is borrowed money. Debt limit? Not our problem. When it comes to the Permanent Fund, we think long-range. When we hear limit, we think sky.

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, correcting a questioner’s use of millions for billions in an interview last week, pointed out that in the deficit debate, “millions” were irrelevant. In that debate, you weren’t talking business unless you were talking billions in big multiples.

But on the state level, our modest millions still count.

On the individual level, so do tens and twenties.

The Permanent Fund remains an Alaska success story, about as close as a state can come to having that cake and eating it too. Dividends every fall, and a fund that keeps growing in the long term, a fund that’s lasted for more than 30 years and should continue to span generations.

Turns out we didn’t squander all that oil bonanza after all.


Tue, 02/21/2017 - 09:14

My Turn: Alaskans have a right to consent to PFD and fund changes

The Permanent Fund Defenders mission is to educate people about the history and purpose of Alaska’s Permanent Fund and dividend (PFD); to protect and defend what we regard as its primary purpose; and to support legislators in making the right decisions related to the Permanent Fund and PFD that benefit all Alaskans.

Read more

Outside Editorial: Good, bad and fake news on vaccines

The following editorial appeared in The Sacramento Bee:

Read more

My Turn: Public safety funding needed

We’re lifelong Alaskans, concerned citizens, and police officers. We love Alaska. We take pride in our career, and in serving and protecting Alaskans.

Read more

Letter: The human cost of war

The Vietnam War officially ended on April 30, 1975.

Read more


  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback