Thursday, September 20, 2012

Did you know: Alaska pays you to live there

Did you know that Alaska will actually pay you to live there? It's called the Alaska Permanent Fund and the short story is that because of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline flows through the state everybody who lives in Alaska gets money each year. Yea, free money!

There are some rules involved so you have to live there the entire year and you can't be a dead beat criminal (non-criminal dead beats should be okay so many of the people we've seen on Alaska State Troopers are good to go). That's it and they'll give you some cash each year for hanging around.

Now, we're not talking about yachts and super cars type cash but it's all better than a sharp stick in the eye as my grandmother would say. This year it looks to be $878.00 per person in the state but back in 2008 it was over $3,000.00. Still, who would complain about that? Turns out a lot of people are complaining about it as I've stumbled onto a few Google+ posts on it.

I won't single out the goof balls by linking to them but here is an article about it. I love how they give a list of what the $878 will buy in Alaska. I mean, should I feel sad that the free $878 each person gets is only enough to cover "About 4 1/2 months of an HD cable television package, including land line and Internet service, in Anchorage." Oh, poor things. It's expensive in Alaska because it's remote, this is why you'll always see things like "prices in Alaska and Hawaii might be higher" or "free shipping does not include Alaska or Hawaii" in ads and such. It's the price you pay to live in these places. I live in Hawaii so I know what pricey is but I'm guessing you don't exactly feel sorry for me now do you? You want cheap? Try Missouri...now that's a place that should be paying you to live there!

The whole thing seems pretty strange when you think about it. What exactly did this pipeline do to the citizens that they need to be paid for it? I wouldn't want a utility pipeline in my backyard (though I do have one buried close by) but at the same time I don't see other states paying people to run pipelines through their state (and these things are everywhere really, it's how all sorts of gas/fuel is moved around the country).

Wouldn't it make sense to put this money in a savings account and save it for a rainy day in Alaska? For example, when the inevitable man made oil related disaster strikes again? Or maybe it can be used to feed the hungry, certainly you have those problems like the rest of the world? Or maybe it should be saved for when the oil runs out? There is a reason Dubai is building all things crazy and fun in their little corner of the world, it's so they have a Plan B when the oil dries up. I mean, it's not like there will be another season of Sarah Palin's Alaska to show us how much fun you can have shooting beautiful animals in the freezing cold so what's the plan Alaska?

4 comments:

  1. Can I move there and live off the land for free???

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  2. "Wouldn't it make sense to put this money in a savings account and save it for a rainy day in Alaska?"

    That's exactly what it is. When the Trans Alaska Pipeline was first built they set it up so the state gets paid for every single barrel of oil that goes through it. (Taxes and whatnot). All that money gets squirreled away into an investment fund (worth over $40 billion). Alaskans get paid out of the INTEREST on that fund, and it is legistlated so that the principal of the fund is UNTOUCHABLE practically. In any case it's political suicide for someone to suggest legislation doing away with it. They have a 5 year rolling average formula they use to determine what the dividend per year is (average of earnings over the past 5 years). You need to apply for it each year, and in order to be eligible, you have to be a resident of the state. Those that move up need to live there a FULL CALENDAR YEAR before they can apply. So, for example, I moved there in an October of a particular year. I could not apply for it until the 2nd January I was up there. (First January was only a few months after I moved). You also need to be present in the state and not gone for more than a few months unless you're deployed with the military or away at college and intending to come back and live permanently. To the previous commenter, no you cannot live off the land for free, Alaska stopped the homesteading in the 80's I think. Now, it's just like any other state except more expensive.

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    1. Also, unique to Alaska is the idea that the natural resources belong to the people, which is also why they have the Dividend program. Or PFD (Permanent Fund Dividend).

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  3. Good info Laurel, thanks for taking the time to add those comments!

    Certainly an interesting take on it and who wouldn't like free money...and while I would point out that other states with resources don't give that money to the residents just for living there, those same states probably aren't smart enough to save any of the proceeds in a bank for the rainy day when that state will run out of resources either.

    Still, throwing out the interest on the money to the residents seems beyond ridiculous to me and I'm betting that $40 billion won't go very far for the state when the well runs dry. Maybe it's time to get in bed with Disney or create their own Alaskaland for when that day comes :)

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