Alaska oil checks smaller, but they help pay virus bills

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska residents began receiving their yearly share of the state’s oil wealth on Wednesday. Nearly every resident will receive $992, which some are finding a boost to help pay bills that have piled up because of the coronavirus. Others spend the money on big-ticket items like new big-screen TVs or snowmobiles, while those in rural areas use it to combat the high cost of living. There are fears that these checks could be going away as Alaska lawmakers continue to dip into the oil wealth fund to help pay for state government in a budget deficit, exacerbated by low oil prices.