Stockton’s Universal Basic Income Program Moves Forward

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STOCKTON -- In Stockton neighborhoods where the median income is around $46,000 a year, notices about Mayor Michael Tubbs’ universal basic income program have started to show up.

Tubbs says he hopes that this lets families know that their concerns are being heard.

“That they’re heard and that we care about doing all we can to make sure that people who are contributing, who are working hard, who aren’t bad people, who just need a little bit of help, get some help,” Tubbs said Wednesday.

Fewer than one of 10 families will be chosen to receive $500 a month for 18 months, free to spend at their discretion.

The program, known as the Stockton Economic Empower Demonstration, or SEED, will measure the effects of a guaranteed income.

“It’s important to position Stockton at the center of national conversations about the economy, about the future of work,” Tubbs said.

Dr. Kelvin Jasek Rysdahl with Cal State Stanislaus says few guaranteed income studies have been done but, for the most part, the impact is encouraging.

“So people losing jobs and not being able to find good paying jobs without having a lot of education or skills, so this is a way to address that issue,” Rysdahl said.

The mayor says he hopes SEED will open needed dialogue around minimum wage and puts the city in the forefront of positive change.

“It’s exciting for Stockton to be first, not for bankruptcy or for something bad, but for something good, something about, ‘How do you help hardworking people?’” Tubbs said.

People who have received the mailer will now have until Dec. 23 complete a survey and, at random, 100 people will be chosen to get the privately funded money.

“There’s no way I can know how each and every person needs to use $500,” he said.

Once the families are chosen, the money will be dispersed starting in February. The added income may affect other benefits you may receive, however, so counselors will talk to chosen families to explain how it may adversely affect benefits.

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