Low-income people and families are getting up to $1,000 a month from dozens of cities and counties under Universal Basic Income (UBI) programs that are spreading across the country, thanks in part to the billions of dollars that have been raised in the American rescue plan 2021 to be deployed.
Chicago is in the midst of an effort to give 5,000 residents $500 a month from a $31.5 million fund called the Resilient Communities Pilot Program. Neighboring counties are offering another 3,250 residents an additional $500 a month from a $42 million fund, the New York Times reported.
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The Times said funding for these programs came from America’s bailout plan Biden signed into law in response to the pandemic. While Conservatives balk at this use of the money, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has dismissed the complaints.
“Frankly, these are the same people who are attacking the very core of our democracy and demonizing being different, being different based on your religion, your beliefs, who you love, your gender identity,” Lightfoot said of the grumbling of conservatives. “I’m the mayor of the city of Chicago. I know what our people need.”
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The National Association of Counties met in Washington this week and was set to announce a “county-level network of basic-income programs” to match what dozens of cities are doing. The Times added that other cities including Columbia, South Carolina, Shreveport, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama are also experimenting with UBI programs.
While some of these programs are funded by Biden’s federal laws, the president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners said there are plans to maintain the county-level UBI program even after federal funding expires. Cook County reportedly plans to remove funding from taxes collected from cannabis sales and other taxes to continue funding UBI.
The Times reported last year that Los Angeles is largely self-funding a $1,000-a-month UBI program.
It said Oakland would give some low-income families $600 a month for 18 months, and San Diego would give low-income families with children $500 a month for two years.
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In Georgia, 300 residents will receive $500 per month under Atlanta’s UBI program, and 200 Minneapolis residents will receive $500 per month for two years.