Everybody in the oil-rich US state of Alaska will get double their annual Basic Income when they receive their 2014 checks of $1,800 “give or take $100.” The chunky state handout may double, officials say, jumping from 7% to 13% of minimum wage income in the state, but still falls far below subsistence.
More cash from natural resource extraction in Alaska was collected in 2014 thanks to the historic, 30-year old policy set up to allow all citizens without a police record a modest basic income (or citizen’s income) from it. Since 1982 it has paid sums ranging from $331-3,369 (with a rebate that year).
Alaskans in 1976 voted in a policy to establish the state-owned fund, Alaska Permanent Fund (APF), to socialise some of the wealth from the land’s natural resources being taken by private companies through a pipeline. The pipeline was used by foreign private companies like BP.
BP in April said it would sell the resources in Alaskan North Slope for about $1.25 billion, although it’s not known whether the AFP had revenues from the sale. The fund is “a dedicated fund for future generations, who would no longer have oil as a resource.”
Alaskans in 2013 cashed in basic income checks amounting to a total of $568.3 million. They were paid the highest amount in 2008, before the global financial crisis.
State-owned oil companies give citizens much more
The Alaska Permanent Fund Board Confirmation Committee, appointed by the state’s Governor to promote transparency, is aware the companies could be paying Alaskans even more. Alaska could receive and pay citizens from 100% of oil revenues instead of about 11%, some speculate. (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_Permanent_Fund)
Norway’s state-controlled oil company (Statoil) gives everything back to Norway, and so could Alaska’s if it set one up.
At the end of fiscal 2014 the Alaskan fund had gathered a grand total of $51.2 billion since it started compared to Norway’s Oil Fund, worth about $694 billion.
The board found: “All of Norway’s oil and gas revenue is deposited in the national savings account. By comparison, Alaska’s Permanent Fund has a different arrangement …(based on legislative)…. decisions to put more money in the Fund.”
“Norway controls to a far greater extent all exploration, development, and operation of oil and gas resources in their country. This Scandinavian country prepares their own seismic studies for bidding, leasing, and development, and does not limit choice to highest bidder.
Research compares Alaska to Norway: http://www.apfboardconfirmation.org/pdfs/WebNorwayPermFund1-15-13.pdf
Original article http://www.adn.com/article/20140730/size-2014-pfd-checks-may-double-2013s-900
History of BI in Alaska: http://binews.org/2014/09/united-states-alaska%E2%80%99s-small-basic-income-likely-to-double-this-year/
Fund’s basic income payment to citizens has tended to grow. Image credit: AFPC