The Alaska Permanent Fund hit $80 billion today, double what it was 10 years ago.
On Feb. 28, 1977, the Permanent Fund received its first deposit of dedicated oil revenues: $734,000. The fund has made money almost every year, except in 2009, when it lost 18 percent. It also lost money in 2001 and 2002, just 3.26 percent and 2.24 percent respectively. In 2020, the year of the pandemic, total return was 2 percent.
Back at the onset of the fund, investments were comprised almost entirely of bonds, while the Legislature had a four-year public discussion regarding whether the Permanent Fund should be managed as an investment fund or as an economic development bank.
In 1980, Gov. Jay Hammond signed a bill in 1980 creating the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation for the purpose of managing investments.
That year, the Alaska Legislature also approved the first Permanent Fund Dividend program, and the first dividend check of $1,000 was distributed two years later.
This year, the statutorily determined dividend would be over $3,000, but the Alaska Legislature is debating how much to appropriate for the dividend. The House has appropriated nothing, while the Senate voted on a $2,300 dividend, and the governor has a proposal to settle the matter by putting the formula into ths Alaska Constitution, which would require a vote of the people.