An Early Dividend Will Help Alaskans Through Unprecedented High Energy Costs
ANCHORAGE – Tuesday, the Alaska Senate Democrats wrote to Governor Mike Dunleavy requesting this year’s $3,200 Permanent Fund Dividend and energy relief check be issued immediately to help Alaskans with high energy costs. Traditionally, the Permanent Fund Dividend is paid in October. In 2020, due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor issued that year’s Dividend on July 1.
“Alaskans are preparing for the hunting and fishing seasons now. With gas prices at nearly $6 per gallon in urban areas, Alaskans need relief now to help access these vital resources – whether for sport fishing or subsistence,” said Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage). “The precedent is there to issue the dividend early, and we should provide Alaskans with the means sooner so they can take advantage of Alaska’s resources.”
During the 2022 legislative session, the legislature approved approximately a $2,550 Dividend with an additional $650 for every eligible Alaskan to mitigate high energy costs. The legislature found it wise to issue energy relief due to Russia’s ongoing illegal invasion of Ukraine, which has caused energy prices to rise globally.
“We see inflation skyrocketing and energy costs rising faster than we’ve seen in a long time. Every aspect of our lives is becoming increasingly expensive, much of which is due to global events. These factors outside of Alaskan’s daily lives are impacting them where it hurts the most – their wallets,” said Senator Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks). “We have the ability to provide needed relief now, and Alaskans deserve it.”
In May of 2022, the Anchorage Daily News reported that the village of Noatak in Northwest Alaska has the highest gas prices in the state – around $16 per gallon of gas. It was also reported that stove oil was equally as high for the village of Noatak.
“We all know that rural Alaska has the highest energy costs in this state, but a majority of Alaskans haven’t experienced that level of cost,” said Senator Donny Olson (D-Golovin). “Couple that with the high costs of motor fuels, this limits rural Alaskans’ ability to access subsistence hunting grounds and fisheries. This winter was hard to get through for many rural Alaskans. We need to provide them relief now to ease this financial burden.”