A bill that would give $1,000 a month to every California resident over the age of 18 was introduced into the Assembly and is currently awaiting Committee assignment.
Assembly Bill 2712, authored by Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), would have the tentatively named California Universal Basic Income Program (CalUBI) be funded by a 10% value-added tax (VAT) on goods and services that are not medical or education based. Residents over the age of 18 would not be able to collect a ‘basic income’ if they are currently on Medi-Cal, a County Medical Services Program, CalFresh, CalWORKs, or Unemployment Insurance. It is currently not known what the residency requirements would be.
Assemblyman Low modeled the program based on former Democratic presidential nominee Andrew Yang’s ‘Freedom Dividend’ universal income plans.
“We must continue the conversation on how the job loss that comes with automation will profoundly change our economy,” said Assemblyman Evan Low in a statement. “The innovations and technologies created in California today are already disrupting our workforce. It’s time that we consider the merits of expanding economic security through a universal basic income.”
Low further credited Yang on Twitter, adding “I’ve just introduced Assembly Bill 2712 California Universal Basic Income (UBI). Continuing your work, Andrew Yang. #HumanityFirst #UBI.”
Universal basic income is currently only partially available in the form of a temporary pilot program in Stockton. Stockton’s program has seen numerous flaws since it started in April of last year but is expected to run through its 18 month trial by September of this year.
Support for AB 2712 has been low. Many UBI advocates, like Stockton mayor Michael Tubbs, have come out against it because of how it doesn’t give any income to those currently on state programs.
Much of the opposition also currently comes from being against the program itself and because of how open to interpretation it currently is.
“I have hundreds of concerns,” said Dr. Megan Graham, a Los Angeles based researcher who has studied past UBI programs. “A big one that jumps out at me are residency requirements. How long must someone be a resident here to receive benefits? Is it immediate? Is it a year?”
“And I’m also worried about how it will kick California’s population up. A lot of people would move here for another $12,000 a year. That means increased rent prices, increased almost everything because of higher demand. And the sad thing is that a lot of people who would need this most would not get it. That’s insane.”
“This is a very socialist plan, but it would be somewhat easier for people to swallow if it helped out poor people more. But it wouldn’t. It largely wouldn’t. CalFresh alone wouldn’t allow over 4 million people to get it.”
“Conservatives hate the plan because of how much state intervention is here, along with all the financial issues and many more that should just be obvious. And now liberals don’t like it because it excludes so many people who would need it. Who is left to support it?”
AB 2712 is expected to be heard in as-of-yet unknown Assembly Committees this spring.