The California Department of Social Services announced Monday that the state will start its first guaranteed income pilot programmes. With the $25 million, checks for $600-$1200 will be sent to 1,975 Californians as soon as next summer.
Last July, the legislature voted unanimously to approve the pilot programme in seven places, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Ventura County. The money will be given out over a period of 12 to 18 months to expectant mothers and people who have aged out of foster care.
Michael Tubbs, the founder of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income and the governor’s special advisor for economic mobility and opportunity, said, “I am proud to see my home state of California bringing in the promise of a guaranteed income to help our residents become more financially stable.” “Just as we saw with the pilot programme I ran when I was mayor of Stockton, I’m sure these funds will help families in important ways and make our communities stronger.”
Grant winners have six months to plan their programmes, reach out to the public, and start taking applications.
The state’s move is a tentative first step that is still smaller than what some local governments have done. There is a programme in Los Angeles called “guaranteed income” that gives $1,000 a month to 3,200 people who are in need.
There are also programmes in other places. This month, San Francisco announced a programme that will give checks for $1,200 to 55 trans people. The programme is aimed at the trans community. There are also programmes like this in the counties of Oakland, Marin, and Santa Clara.
Not everyone agrees with the idea of what is sometimes called “Universal Basic Income.” Assemblyman Vince Fong, a Republican from Bakersfield, didn’t vote on the programme, but he told the Associated Press that “guaranteed income programmes reduce incentives to work and make people more dependent on the government.”
He told the paper, “Guaranteed income doesn’t give people the job training and skills they need to move up.”
Angela Rachidi, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. who studies poverty, agrees.
“It’s likely to cut or replace a lot of jobs, but the fact that it’s only a temporary programme might lessen the effects on jobs. Less employment has long-term effects that are bad, like making it harder to move up the career ladder, she told The Center Square.
“Young people who age out of foster care shouldn’t be encouraged to stay out, but should be helped to get jobs,” she said.