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This is it — the day for which Alaskans waited another year.
The Permanent Fund Dividend is to be announced at 11 a.m. today by acting Revenue Commissioner Angela Rodell. What a great opportunity she has, making every eligible Alaskan's day. Whatever the sum turns out to be, it will be more than Alaskans had or will have before Oct. 3 when distribution is to begin.
Most Alaskans will receive a dividend, which is the result of investment profits from the state's oil-wealth savings account.
The amount of earnings allocated to dividends is based on a five-year rolling average of the Permanent Fund's performance. Unfortunately, this year the average includes the recession year 2009, when the fund sustained a $2.5-billion loss in net income.
Last year the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. transferred $605 million to the Permanent Fund Dividend division for dispersements, which totaled $878 apiece. This year the corporation is expected to transfer $604 million.
Most Alaskans likely already know what we'll do with the dividend payment — reinvest it, pay bills, save it in a college fund, donate it. Since the first distribution in 1982, checks saved and invested by parents and young people have resulted in early gains in covering costs for higher education or beginning a career. For others, it's dictated whether a vacation would be possible. Still, it also has paid the price for many necessities, too.
For new Alaskans, it's exciting to figure out when that first dispersement will come their way. This is the year for some; others can count the months until theirs arrives about this time next year.
Whatever one's situation in regard to receiving a dividend and whatever one chooses to do with it, the Permanent Fund Dividend is one of the best creations in Alaska's history.