Eli Kozminsky


Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend (Dividend) is an annual payment to eligible residents derived from state investment earnings on mineral royalties. Since 1982, the Dividend has averaged a payout of approximately $1,000 annually. The Permanent Fund Dividend program allows a parent, guardian, or other authorized representative to claim a Dividend on behalf of a child. Yet Alaska law currently imposes no requirements whatsoever on how parents use a child’s Dividend. This Note questions Alaska’s lack of parental duty when it comes to managing children’s Dividends. Part I sketches the Permanent Fund Dividend’s history and motivations, the mechanics of the program itself, and the case law that has developed regarding parental duty under the program. Part II then proposes that the way in which a child’s Dividend is characterized influences what sort of parental duty (if any) attaches. In Part III, a reinterpretation of the Dividend as income rightly belonging to the child is offered as a compelling alternative to current doctrine. This Note concludes that the lax treatment of a child’s Dividend under current Alaska law is suspect, and argues that an income conception that imputes a higher degree of parental duty better advances the program’s aims.

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