California state lawmaker introduces bill to create universal basic income of $1K a month

Brooke Seipel, The Hill

California Assemblyman Evan Low (D) introduced a bill this week to create a universal basic income in the state, giving residents over 18 years old $1,000 per month.

Low introduced AB 2712 on Thursday, and invoked former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang in his announcement of the measure. Yang had also pushed to create a universal basic income as a key part of his platform and proposed giving $1,000 per month.

Yang ended his presidential campaign earlier this month. The candidate, often considered a long shot, successfully outlasted other, more high-profile contenders.

Low’s bill would establish a California Universal Basic Income Program funded by a new 10 percent value-added tax on goods and services in the state. According to the bill, those exempt from receiving monthly payments are those already using Medi-Cal, County Medical Services Program, CalFresh, CalWorks or Unemployment Insurance.

The proposed tax to fund the program would not apply to “medicine, medical supplies and equipment, educational materials, including textbooks, tuition or fees for education, food, groceries, and clothing.”

One city in California — Stockton — has already begun testing its own universal basic income. The test program started in April 2019 and is giving 130 residents a $500 per month for 18 months.

Stockton’s mayor expressed doubt at Low’s proposed statewide version of universal basic income over its exemptions.

The bill still has a long way to go before becoming law, and must be approved in committee then approved by both houses of the state Legislature.

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