Officials to announce amount of permanent fund dividend

Posted: Thursday, September 21, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- It's a moment that's dear to every eligible Alaskan's heart -- and this year it happens Thursday.

At 10:45 a.m., the Department of Revenue is scheduled to announce the amount of this year's Permanent Fund Dividend. Despite a rocky year in the stock and bond markets, the checks are expected to be almost $2,000 this year, the most in the dividend's 19-year history.

The state's oil-wealth savings account posted a $2.2 billion profit from its investments for the budget year that ended June 30, Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. officials said in July.

It is a smaller profit than last year, but due to the accounting peculiarities of the dividend, the total dividend payout in October will increase from $1.04 billion to almost $1.2 billion, corporation spokesman Jim Kelly said in July.

Based on 592,000 people who applied for dividends in 1999, that could raise the dividend to about $1,950 per person, up from last year's $1,770.

At the time, however, Kelly had cautioned that the profits figure was preliminary and could change slightly as fund managers finish accounting for the budget year.

Larry Persily, deputy commissioner of the revenue department, said the math was wrong in earlier calculations.

The $28.5 billion Fund is invested almost entirely in stocks, bonds and commercial real estate.

Dividend checks are factored not on annual profits, but on average profits over the past five years. The Permanent Fund is coming off five years of strong returns, raising the five-year profit average and raising this year's dividend payout to $1.17 billion.

Whatever the amount, the residents will soon get their checks, starting with direct deposits on Oct. 4. Paper checks will be mailed out in batches, starting Oct. 5, Persily said.

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