Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is proposing $24 million for a pilot program to give no-strings-attached cash to struggling households — calling it "the largest guaranteed basic income pilot of any city in America."
At his State of the City address on Monday, the Democrat said the $24 million in taxpayer money would be used to give $1,000 a month to 2,000 households for one year, "no questions asked, wherever poverty lives in our city."
He also proposed spending $955 million to address growing homelessness in Los Angeles, funded partly by federal dollars — likely the federal COVID rescue package.
The budget blueprint was set to go to the City Council on Tuesday.
Los Angeles would join a handful of other cities experimenting with a guaranteed income program, including Stockton, Calif., St. Paul, Minn., and Chelsea, Mass., Bloomberg reported — with many of them funded by philanthropic groups.
The coronavirus has accelerated plans for the program. In the past year, the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, a non-profit affiliated with Garcetti’s office, has given out $36.8 million to 104,200 residents through a prepaid debit card called the Angeleno Card, Bloomberg reported.
"There’s no question the pandemic is proof that this works," Garcetti said in his speech. "Small investments have big payoffs."
Garcetti is co-chair of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, which has been advocating for the policy at the federal level and funding local programs. The group, which has 43 elected officials as members, was founded last year by then-Stockton-mayor Michael Tubbs. According to Bloomberg, it’s gotten $18 million in seed money from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.
According to Bloomberg, it’s California cities that have taken the lead, with Compton, just south of Los Angeles, rolling out its program last week, providing 800 families between $300 and $600 a month. Oakland and San Francisco also recently outlined details for their projects.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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