Many Alaskans unhappy with amount of yearly dividend checks

EnergyAssociated 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.