Alaska Olympians Kikkan Randall and Holly Brooks might be among the best ambassadors the 49th state has on the national and international stages these days, but in the eyes of the Alaska Department of Revenue they are neither Alaskans nor Olympians.
How's that, you ask?
When it comes to handing out Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend checks -- every Alaskan's annual return on the state's vast oil wealth -- the Revenue Department gets very, very picky about who qualifies. With very few exceptions, a calendar year must be spent on Alaska soil in order to initially qualify for the check, which is disbursed every fall to every man, woman and child. Any Alaskan who spends significant time outside of the state best supply a good reason, or else sacrifice qualifying for the PFD check.
Olympians like cross-country skiers Randall and Brooks, who promote the state globally, are supposed to get a break in this regard. The Alaska Legislature in 2006 specifically exempted them from the basic requirement that Alaskans must spend most of the year in Alaska in order to collect the handout that's ranged from a low of $331.25 in 1984 to as much as $2,069 in 2008, a banner year, when then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin tacked an additional $1,200 "resource rebate" onto the bounty to offset climbing energy prices.
But the Department of Revenue has it own take on what the Legislature did ....