Thursday’s California’s lawmakers approved America’s first state-funded guaranteed income program for both qualifying young adults who have recently left foster care and for pregnant women, reports CNBC.
The votes — 36-0 in the Senate and 64-0 in the Assembly — showed bipartisan support for an idea that is gaining momentum across the country. Dozens of local programs have sprung up in recent years, including some that have been privately funded, making it easier for elected officials to sell the public on the idea. California’s plan is taxpayer-funded, and could spur other states to follow its lead.
“If you look at the stats for our foster youth, they are devastating,” Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk said. “We should be doing all we can to lift these young people up.”
Local governments and organizations will apply for the money and run their programs. The state Department of Social Services will decide who gets funding. California lawmakers left it up to local officials to determine the size of the monthly payments, which generally range from $500 to $1,000 in existing programs around the country. The vote came on the same day millions of parents began receiving their first monthly payments under a temporary expansion of the federal child tax credit many view as a form of guaranteed income. “Now there is momentum, things are moving quickly,” said Michael Tubbs, an advisor to California governor Gavin Newsom, who was a trailblazer when he instituted a guaranteed income program as mayor of Stockton. “The next stop is the federal government.”