Stockton could become the first city in the nation to give some of its poorer citizens a $500 a month basic income, Mayor Michael Tubbs announced Wednesday.
“This is not a handout, it’s a hand up," Tubbs said. "You can’t pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you don’t have boots. How do you make sure folks who are working two or three jobs, how do we make sure they are able to enjoy the American Dream we hold so dear?"
Around $1 million is coming from the Economic Security Project, a network of researchers, elected leaders, and organizers. There are no tax dollars being spent.
Tubbs said over the next six months a study group will determine who gets the money and for how long, anywhere from one to three years. There could be 25 to 75 families involved.
Tubbs says this guaranteed income could be the key to empower citizens to build a better future for themselves. In Stockton, around one in four people live below the poverty line.