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California approves 1st state-funded universal basic income plan

The $35 million plan will fund local programs that will provide monthly cash payments to young adults who recently left foster care and pregnant people.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — There’s great news for Californians who are experiencing financial hardships. The California Legislature has approved the nation's first state-funded guaranteed income program. 

The $35 million plan approved Thursday will fund local programs that will set the monthly amount.

Who gets it? 

The $35 million Universal Basic Income (UBI), pilot program will be for pregnant people and foster youth aging out of the system. The program, which passed the state legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support, hasn’t been given a start date, but people can expect monthly payments from $500 up to $1000.

Payments will be delivered directly to people every month for 24 months with no strings attached to them. 

Background

There's at least one example of success with a universal basic income program in California. The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration or SEED resulted in residents paying off debt and becoming financially stable. With cities like Stockton experiencing success from the program, Los Angeles and New Orleans are among the cities piloting income programs.

“Let me tell you being the first can be scary," said Michael Tubbs, the former mayor of Stockton who led the charge in launching a privately funded guaranteed income program. "Being the first comes with a lot of bruises. The nail that sticks out the first is the one that gets hammered, and so for the state to really take that risk and be the first really says a lot about the values of our leadership.”

Oakland Resilient Families in East Oakland just completed its Phase I income application program. They have committed to eliminating racial wealth inequalities and will open up Citywide Applications later this summer.

“I’m excited to see how this accelerates the movement nationally because as California goes so goes the entire nation,” Tubbs said.  

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Stockton's guaranteed income initiative resulted in full-time jobs and less depression

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