Many Alaskans unhappy with amount of yearly dividend checks

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  • In this Sept. 23, 2016 photo, resident Quamaundya Elliott discusses her reaction to the upcoming distribution of dividend checks from the state's oil wealth fund in Anchorage, Alaska. Gov. Bill Walker capped the amount of this year's checks to most Alaskans to $1,022 because of the state's multibillion-dollar budget deficit amid low oil prices. The checks, which had been expected to be more than twice that amount, will be distributed beginning Oct. 6. (AP Photo/Rachel D'Oro)

    In this Sept. 23, 2016 photo, resident Quamaundya Elliott discusses her reaction to the upcoming distribution of dividend checks from the state's oil wealth fund in Anchorage, Alaska. Gov. Bill Walker capped the amount of this year's checks to most ... Alaskans to $1,022 because of the state's multibillion-dollar budget deficit amid low oil prices. The checks, which had been expected to be more than twice that amount, will be distributed beginning Oct. 6. (AP Photo/Rachel D'Oro) (The Associated Press)

  • In this Sept. 23, 2016 photo, resident Jerry Wolf discusses his reaction to the upcoming distribution of dividend checks from the state's oil wealth fund in Anchorage, Alaska. Gov. Bill Walker capped the amount of this year's checks to most Alaskans to $1,022 because of the state's multibillion-dollar budget deficit amid low oil prices. The checks, which had been expected to be more than twice that amount, will be distributed beginning Oct. 6. (AP Photo/Rachel D'Oro)

    In this Sept. 23, 2016 photo, resident Jerry Wolf discusses his reaction to the upcoming distribution of dividend checks from the state's oil wealth fund in Anchorage, Alaska. Gov. Bill Walker capped the amount of this year's checks to most Alaskans ... to $1,022 because of the state's multibillion-dollar budget deficit amid low oil prices. The checks, which had been expected to be more than twice that amount, will be distributed beginning Oct. 6. (AP Photo/Rachel D'Oro) (The Associated Press)

  • In this Sept. 23, 2016 photo, a sign advertising Alaska Permanent Fund dividend deals offered by a local mattress store is shown in Anchorage, Alaska. Gov. Bill Walker capped the amount of this year's checks to most Alaskans to $1,022 because of the state's multibillion-dollar budget deficit amid low oil prices. The checks, which had been expected to be more than twice that amount, will be distributed beginning Oct. 6. (AP Photo/Rachel D'Oro)

    In this Sept. 23, 2016 photo, a sign advertising Alaska Permanent Fund dividend deals offered by a local mattress store is shown in Anchorage, Alaska. Gov. Bill Walker capped the amount of this year's checks to most Alaskans to $1,022 because of the ... state's multibillion-dollar budget deficit amid low oil prices. The checks, which had been expected to be more than twice that amount, will be distributed beginning Oct. 6. (AP Photo/Rachel D'Oro) (The Associated Press)

You could call it free money.

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But that doesn't mean all Alaskans are happy about the $1,022 nearly all of them will receive Thursday from the state's oil wealth fund.

Residents get an annual check from the Alaska Permanent Fund, a reward of sorts for living here a full calendar year.

The amount for every person last year was a record $2,072. This year, the check was estimated to be even higher at about $2,100.

Then Gov. Bill Walker stepped in and shrunk the amount because of the state's multibillion-dollar budget deficit, a situation exacerbated by low oil prices.

Walker's action is being challenged in court by state Sen. Bill Wielechowski and two former lawmakers who allege the governor illegally vetoed fund earnings appropriated for dividends.