ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – This is the day Alaskans crow about to their brethren in the Lower 48, trying to make them jealous that the government gives them money to just live here.
Alaskans got word Tuesday that this year’s Permanent Fund Dividend will be $878. Almost all Alaskans _ nearly 647,000 people _ will receive this sum, their yearly share of the state’s oil wealth.
But what your Alaskan friends may not tell you is that the yearly bounty barely makes a dent in the higher cost to live in the nation’s northernmost state _ and this year’s checks won’t go far.
Living in Alaska costs more since most everything has to be shipped in. In fact, 90 percent of all goods sold in the state pass through the Port of Anchorage.
There’s no such thing as a dollar menu at a fast-food restaurant in Alaska, for example _ it’s more like a $1.50 or $2 menu. And there’s a reason why many TV commercials advertising prices have a line in small print at the bottom saying prices may be higher in Alaska and Hawaii: They are.
Here’s a look at what this year’s dividend _ $878 _ will get you in Alaska:
_ About $70 short of one month’s rent for a single-bedroom apartment in Juneau, the state’s capital.
_ 88 12-packs of soda in the western Alaska village of Nome. (Residents in Los Angeles could take home triple that amount for the same money.)
_ Nearly 59 cans of Hills Brothers Coffee at the remote village of Fort Yukon, just north of the Arctic Circle.
_ Not quite 11 days’ worth of kibble, meat and fat supplement for winter feeding for 46 sleds dogs at Paul and Erin McLarnon’s Broken Runner Sled Dog Kennel in Willow, Alaska.
_ A roundtrip airline ticket from Anchorage to Seattle, but nothing left over for an in-flight meal or cocktail. The same ticket for a roundtrip between Omaha, Neb., and Miami (roughly the same distance) would run half as much.
_ A good down payment on a season ski pass at the Alyeska Resort in Girdwood, Alaska, which costs $1,375.
_ New clothes for the season; the dividend would cover a new pair of men’s ski pants, a down jacket and gloves.
_ About 163 gallons of home heating fuel ($5.39 per gallon delivered) in Naknek, a Bristol Bay village about 300 miles from Anchorage.
_ Two round-trip tickets from Anchorage to Fairbanks, along with a gold season pass for two to next year’s World Ice Art Championships, which run from Feb. 26 to March 24. There should be enough money left after viewing the ice carvings for a couple of meals.
_ About 4 1/2 months of an HD cable television package, including land line and Internet service, in Anchorage.
And while many would consider the Permanent Fund Dividend free money, it’s really not. Even though there’s no state income tax, the IRS taxes Alaskans on this income.
Mark Thiessen is the news editor in Alaska for The Associated Press.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night
- New bone marrow procedure holds promise for healing pain
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- Diet, exercise and aspirin: 3 tools to fight colon cancer
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- A preseason guide to avoid holiday weight gain
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns