The idea of a choice between cash or land is worth review.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy is proposing that Alaskans qualifying for an Alaska Permanent Fund dividend be given the choice.
Depending on the details, this might free up dollars at a time when Alaska is deficit spending. The state wouldn’t pay out as much cash in dividends.
Instead, it would be providing land at a value twice that of an individual’s dividend distribution. The land would give Alaskans an opportunity to develop. Development — whether private or corporate — tends to enhance economies. Growing economies more easily pay for government programs and services.
Last year a dividend payment amounted to $1,606, although the governor favored a distribution of $2,910. If the governor’s amount had been distributed, then an individual could receive $5,820 of land value.
For a family of four or five, that’s between $23,280 and $29,100 per distribution year. At those sums, it’s possible to acquire land and build on it. Such assets appreciate in value.
The Legislature should seriously examine Dunleavy’s proposal. He might have something here. It won’t eliminate the deficit nor solve all of the state’s budget issues. But it would be an investment in and for Alaskans.
And that’s the bottom line — serving Alaskans.