A California Mayor Led Program Giving 125 Residents $500 Per Month. It Was A Success

Elijah C. Watson Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When…
A California Mayor Led Program Giving 125 Residents $500 Per Month. It Was A Success
Photo Credit: Nick Otto/AFP via Getty Images

Michael Tubbs, the mayor of Stockton, California, spoke on the success of the program recently.

The mayor of Stockton, California, has spoken on the success of a basic-income program he launched back in 2019. In a report from Business Insider, Michael Tubbs explained how, for two years (from February 2019 to January 2021), he offered $500 each month to the city’s poorest residents with no strings attached.

Titled the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, the program loaded the $500 into debit cards that were given to 125 residents.

“My belief in it came from being raised by three amazing women, including my single mom,” Tubbs said. “The issue wasn’t that they couldn’t manage money. The issue was they never had enough money to manage.”

Despite some arguing that the program would lead to people not wanting to find jobs, results showed that not only did unemployment drop but the participants’ quality of life was improved, too. The additional money also helped significantly during the pandemic, with participants able to take days off work if they contracted covid-19.

“Everything I thought would happen, I said would happen — I argued with Sarah Palin and Chuck Woolery and talked to ‘CBS This Morning’ and Bill Maher about — actually happened,” Tubbs said. “I remember telling people, ‘I think that $500 will allow people to work more if they choose to do so.’ And that playing out in the data, it makes me so proud.”

The program has since inspired other cities across the country to implement their own basic-income programs. The report noted how Saint Paul, Minnesota, started a program in the fall giving $500 a month to 150 low-income families for up to 18 months, while Compton, California, is giving 800 residents a guaranteed income of $300 to $600 a month for two years.

Want More?

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Follow Us