The idea of putting less ties to government aid continues to gain adherents. On Thursday, the California legislature unanimously approved a budget trailer invoice which will create the state’s first guaranteed income pilot program.
Under the legislators’ plan, the state Department of Social Services (DSS) will get $ 35 million to distribute in grants to cities and counties that will then establish local basic income schemes. Priority will be given to grants for programs that focus on “pregnant individuals” and young adults 21 and older who have exited extended foster care programs.
State Senator Dave Cortese (D-San Jose) said in a Press release On Thursday participants in these pilot programs could end up receiving monthly payments of up to $ 1,000 each.
“The first pilot of its kind that we promoted in Santa Clara County is just one example of guaranteed basic income that works successfully to improve lives and lift people out of poverty.” saying Cortese, referring to a similar program launched in 2020 that provided 72 young adults who were previously in foster care programs with $ 1,000 monthly stipends. “I’m excited that 40 million Californians now have the opportunity to see how guaranteed income works in their own communities.”
The bill that was approved by the legislature yesterday largely leaves DSS with the task of coming up with a plan on how to distribute the $ 35 million to local governments. To be eligible for grants, cities and counties must demonstrate that their basic income programs are obtaining non-government funding worth at least 50 percent of the state money they receive.
In recent years, a number of privately funded Universal Basic Income (UBI) -type programs have emerged in California. Most prominent is the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, which awarded a monthly stipend of $ 500 to 125 city residents over the course of two years. That program was launched in 2019 and concluded in February of this year.
In March, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced the launch of a Oakland Resilient Families partnership, which will provide 600 families with a monthly cash stipend of $ 500 for 18 months. That program is funded entirely by a collection of philanthropic groups, including the nonprofit Family Independence Initiative, Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, and Oakland Thrives, a public-private partnership.
Nearby Marin County has also launched a program to provide a $ 1,000 stipend to 125 low-income women of color with at least one child over the course of two years. That program has received $ 3 million from the Marin Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization, as well as $ 300,000 from the Marin County government.
The last two programs exclude white people from eligibility, which could create legal problems for the state government if it tried to direct public dollars towards them.
In May, checks began to be issued for San Francisco’s new Basic Income Program for Artists. That program, funded by the city and administered in partnership with the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, will provide $ 1,000 monthly stipends to artists who, among other qualifications, lost income during the pandemic and whose artistic practice “has its roots in a historically marginalized community.”
The bill passed yesterday by lawmakers expressly excludes any money an individual receives from a state-funded guaranteed income program from counting as income when determining their eligibility for other state or local benefits subject to resource verification. The intention there, it seems, is to avoid a “profit gulf” in which people lose other government benefits by virtue of earning more income.
For supporters, the benefits of guaranteed income programs over traditional wellness are twofold. The provision of unconditional cash benefits means that government bureaucrats do not control the spending decisions of program beneficiaries. The more universal these programs are, the fewer obstacles people have to overcome to qualify for assistance.
His promise to cut government bureaucracy and paternalism is one News Block some libertarian scholars have supported UBI-like programs.
The basic income programs that have been implemented in California thus far, including the new one at the state level, partially deliver on that promise. Their small size and narrow eligibility criteria, including restrictions based on race and gender in some cases, mean that they are obviously not universal. By giving cash, they manage to be unconditional.
Having passed the legislature, the bill creating California’s Basic Income Pilot Program now goes to the governor. Gavin Newsom’s desk for a signature.