Alaskans Are Getting as Much as a $5,500 Stimulus Check from the State Government This Year – The chances of a fourth federal stimulus check fade, but some states are stepping up and doing what they can to ease inflationary pressure on residents. However, no other state has gone quite as far as Alaska, where residents are set to receive cash payments – or what everyone loves to call a ‘stimulus check’ of as much as $5,500.
Alaska Senate Approves New State Spending Package and Stimulus Check
The Alaska State Senate approved a new state spending package in a 15-5 vote, and the legislation has now been sent to the state House of Representatives. Under the package, Alaskans will receive an additional $1,300 check designed to ease the cost of energy bills on top of a proposed $4,200 dividend payment.
The Alaska Senate voted 10-9 in favor of giving residents a dividend payment worth $4,200, which would increase the cost of the dividend payments for the state to $2.8 billion.
The future of the legislation, however, is uncertain. Many legislators believe that the state House is likely to reject the bill, meaning the two chambers will need to go to a conference committee to reach a new compromise. In this case, the checks will likely still happen but may not be the same amount as originally planned.
Last month, the Alaskan House of Representatives passed a budget that included the same $1,300 check, but a dramatically reduced dividend payment of $1,250.
What Is a Dividend Payment?
Alaska is unlike other states when it comes to these stimulus packages, as residents receive dividend payments every year already.
The Permanent Fund Dividend is a dividend paid out to residents of Alaska who have lived in the state for one whole year, and who intend to live in the state permanently.
The Permanent Fund Dividend forms part of the Alaska Permanent Fund, which is a constitutionally established fund managed by the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation. The fund was worth $64 billion in 2019 and has long been funded by the oil revenues generated by the state. Typically, residents receive $1,600 per year.
The fund was established in 1976.
Republicans Oppose Additional Stimulus Check
Like in many other states, where both Republican and Democratic legislators have voted to pass increased stimulus checks paid for by state budget surpluses, Republicans in Alaska voted in favor of the proposed increase to the dividend payment.
Alaskan House Speaker Louise Stutes, a Republican, expressed disappointment in conservative legislators in the state who voted in favor of the bill.
“We have all these conservative people that have been nickel and diming different bills, saying, ‘We’ve got to save money,’” Stutes said.
“The House—our anticipation was to put a lot of money in a savings account. Well, that just got shut down in the Senate. All these conservative people just spent all our money, all our savings account, and money that we haven’t gotten yet.”
Alaska’s legislature has until May 18 to pass the budget.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.