28-year-old Mayor of Stockton, California Michael Tubbs has launched a basic income policy that distributes $500 monthly stipends to low-income residents. According to Tubbs, the program could be considered a solution to poverty in the city.
Tubbs was elected mayor of Stockton in 2017 making him one of the youngest mayors in the U.S.. Two months ago, the policy launched a contemporary basic income policy with aim to help the city’s poverty issues.
Since February, Stockton has given out $500 in monthly stipends to its 130 residents living at or below the city’s median income line (around $46,000 annually) through the policy. The trial is set to last for 18 months and the stipends are provided through the mail in the form of debit cards.
The program hopes to help lift families out of poverty, however, some critics are saying it will only discourage people to find jobs. Although, Tubbs said the policy has already showed signs of success within the two months since it was launched. Back in 2012, Stockton declared bankruptcy, the first city in the U.S. to do so.
“I came into doing the pilot without a fully formed perspective — or as fully formed as it is now — but really more out of curiosity,” Tubbs told Business Insider. “If this was a solution that could work, I wanted to test it out.”
Tubbs said most people who are receiving the stipend to pay their gas and electric bills, get their cars fixed, and take their children to the movies.
“I was very excited to see it already working and making a difference in so many people’s lives,” he said. “I’m now much more resolute in this idea that, if it’s not a panacea… it should be considered as one of the many solutions to ensure that people have an economic floor.”
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