Permanent Fund Dividend amount disappoints Alaskans

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The announcement Tuesday of the first dividend payment below $1,000 in many years caused recipients to question the fairness of this amount.

Bill Hogan, interim dean of the College of Health, said that it seems small to him. He noted, however, that the dividend is figured at the average of five years of fund income and that this included some years of the economic downturn. He has no plans for the money. He usually puts it in savings or gives it to charity. However, he did not “pick, click, give” when he completed his application.

Although the amount fluctuates, this year’s amount of $878 was the lowest payment since 2005, when qualified Alaskans received $845.76. The total payout as reported by pfd.alaska.gov is said to be $567 million this year.

Pinky Miranda, student services coordinator for the Department of Human Services, said the amount was very disappointing and added that we have no right to be disappointed because it is, after all, free money. However, she does plan to use it to pay for improvements and repairs to her home. She did not use “pick, click, give” when she filled out her application.

Reacting to Tuesday’s announcement, JPC major Tim Twombly said that he was “expecting it to be at least a thousand dollars.” Although his expectations were set higher, he said that the lower amount doesn’t bother him because regardless, it is “money for me to spend… or save.”

Also expecting the payout to be larger, pre-nursing major Karla Vonderheit, who’s pinching pennies for a December wedding said, “You always hope for it to be more, regardless of the amount.” Although, like Twombly, she was hoping for four figures, she admits, “It’s still free money.”

For PFD recipients, the checks will be direct deposited on October 4 and the paper checks will be sent out the same day.

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— Reported by JPC A201 Reporting and Writing News