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Mayors pledge to launch guaranteed income programs in United States



SACRAMENTO, California. A growing number of mayors across the country are supporting giving money to low-income families without any restrictions on how they can spend it as part of a growing movement to establish a guaranteed minimum income for them. fight against poverty and systemic racism.

The mayors of at least 25 cities, from Los Angeles to Paterson, New Jersey, have pledged to support such programs as part of the Mayors for Guaranteed Income group. They are led by Michael Tubbs, the 30-year-old mayor of Stockton, Calif., Who launched one of the country’s first guaranteed income programs last year with the help of private donations from Silicon Valley.

The idea of ​​guaranteed income programs has been around for decades, but it has gained a lot of attention in the United States as the centerpiece of Andrew Yang’s failed bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Critics scoffed at Yang’s plan, which reportedly cost $ 2.8 trillion per year by giving every American $ 1,000 per month. The pilot programs launched in some cities across the country only affect a few hundred people at most. The goal, Tubbs said, is to convince the federal government to start a guaranteed income program by providing the stories and the cover to do the right thing.

It must be a federal solution, he said on Wednesday. We understand that a guaranteed income is not a panacea for everything (but) is a powerful tool that provides a floor for everyone. “

Mayors have work to do to win over critics, including Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, a fiscally conservative advocacy group.

Socialism is great until you run out of other people’s money, he said, vaguely quoting former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The concept of universal minimum income is crazy. It discourages work and it is socially destructive.

Stockton’s program began in early 2019, giving 125 people $ 500 per month. It was supposed to end in August, but Tubbs extended it until January due to the pandemic.

The program is fully funded by private donations. But some of the other programs outlined by mayors at a press conference on Wednesday rely on a mix of public and private money. In St. Paul, Minnesota, Mayor Melvin Carter plans to use federal CARES bill money to fund the first phase of that city’s program, which will provide $ 500 per month to up to 150 low-income families with young children.

In Los Angeles, the country’s second-largest city, Mayor Eric Garcetti has pledged to launch a program that includes a mix of public and private money. He hinted that the program could also help immigrants living illegally in the country who have been excluded from federal law.

At a time of racial injustice, we see this as a way forward, Garcetti said.

In Hudson, New York, a city of about 6,000 residents, Mayor Kamal Johnson said about 25 people were receiving $ 500 a month for five years. This program is funded by private donations and will benefit individuals who are at least 18 years of age and earning $ 35,000 per year or less.

We currently live in a city where people feel like they are working, paying their bills and dying, Johnson said. Being in one of the most powerful nations in the world shouldn’t be the way people live. “

In Pittsburgh, Mayor William Peduto will launch a program later this year to donate $ 500 per month to 200 families. Half of that money would go to families headed by black women. The researchers will compare the impact on this group to the impact on the 100 families not headed by black women to measure the impact of systemic racism.

Further programs are planned for Oakland, California; Mount Vernon, New York; Tecoma, Washington; and Paterson, New Jersey.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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