California Approves First of Its Kind Guaranteed Income Program

California lawmakers on Thursday approved $35 million to provide no-strings-attached monthly checks to residents, a major embrace of a nationwide movement toward granting people guaranteed income.

Under the plan, the first of its kind at the state level in the U.S., priority will be given to programs directing payments to those aging out of foster care and to pregnant women. Local groups handling these efforts would apply to the state for the grants. Monthly payments would go as high as $1,000, according to a statement from state Senator Dave Cortese, who has advocated for the program.

The idea of government providing individuals with some basic level of income has been floated by a number of prominent voices in recent years, and California cities have been at the forefront of the movement. In Stockton, California, a basic-income program that began in 2019 resulted in employment jumping among recipients compared to those who didn’t get the $500 a month payment, a study released earlier this year showed.

“I’m excited that 40 million Californians will now get a chance to see how guaranteed income works in their own communities,” Cortese said in the statement.

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