The recent increase in energy prices has had contradictory effects on Alaska. The government and oil producers have benefited greatly from increased oil revenue, but most ordinary Alaskans have had to pay much more in energy costs. Thus the state has a huge budget surplus while most individuals have much tighter budgets. Wesley Loy, of the Alaska Daily News, reports that the Alaskan legislature has been contemplating using the additional energy revenue to help ordinary Alaskans cope with their higher energy bills. The help might to come in the form of a $500 cash dividend on top of this year’s Permanent Fund Dividend. However, this money would be taken from the profits of the Alaska Permanent Fund and it would therefore, decrease the size of all future dividends. Some legislators have questioned the wisdom of mortgaging future dividends to pay for high fuel prices this year when fuel prices are likely to remain high next year and perhaps for years to come. Some legislators have suggested financing the additional dividend through regular tax revenues without dipping into the profits of the Permanent Fund.
For Wesley Loy’s Alaska Daily News report on the proposal, go to: http://www.adn.com/politics/story/351745.html
For Sean Cokerham’s report on the proposal go to: