Permanent fund flush

Initial $734,000 deposit made 30 years ago grows to $36 billion

Posted: Friday, December 08, 2006

KENAI - Last year the Alaska Permanent Fund earned as much every two hours as was originally deposited into the fund, a fund executive told Soldotna business leaders this week.

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It's a lot of cash.

"Thirty years ago, $734,000 was deposited to the permanent fund," Executive Director Mike Burns said.

Burns painted a healthy picture for members of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

"The permanent fund returned 11 percent for fiscal year 2006," Burns said, over a target of 10.5 percent.

In the fund's 30th anniversary year, its value of the fund raced through a half dozen milestones, reaching $31 billion for the first time and not stopping there.

"As of last Friday, the fund was at $36 billion," Burns said.

Statutory net income, the amount used to calculate the dividend each Alaskan receives, "was the greatest amount ever at $2.7 billion," he said.

Burns said royalty deposits from minerals also were the greatest the fund ever received, at $601 million.

Because the low-earnings year of the five years on which the dividend is based will be factored out during the current fiscal year, Burns said dividend amounts could be $200 to $300 higher.

He cautioned, however, that dividends were linked to earnings, which are in turn linked to the investment market.

"The market can change rapidly," he said.

The amount of the 2006 dividend was $1,106, up from $845 in 2005.

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