In light of the impact from the North Dakota Bakken oil boom and the controversy surrounding the Measure 2 property tax referendum, a prudent look at Alaska’s Permanent Fund and Dividend benefit maybe something the people of North should think about.
Generally, the APFD was constitutionally established after North Slope oil began flowing in 1976.
The fund consists of approximately 20 percent of yearly proceeds from the production of state minerals-such as oil and gas (after oil company and fund expenses are taken out — 12 percent).
The residual is divided between every Alaskan from infants to the elderly, but it is subject to residency requirements, criminal history and other disqualifiers. Residents are also required to apply each year.
The fund is very popular. The yearly disbursements range from around $1,000 to $2,000 or more depending on the price of oil.
The individual payout for 2011 was $1,174. My sister’s family (husband and two children) have lived in Alaska for the past 30 years and she has continually extolled the monetary benefits this fund has afforded her family over the years.
With our state coffers bursting at the seams with petro-dollars for the foreseeable future, a North Dakota permanent fund and dividend would aid cash-strapped families and individuals with payments that would be a welcome hedge against escalating costs related to property taxes, rents, gas prices, education and other expenses.
Why shouldn’t the people of North Dakota, not just the Legislature, have the opportunity to decide how to spend a small portion of the Bakken windfall for their immediate needs? Now wouldn’t that make for an interesting referendum?
Much more information can be accessed online through www.pfd.st.ak.us.
Vernon Peterson, Bismarck