Group of Mayors Pledge to Push for Universal Basic Income Programs

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs initiated a program to give $500 to 125 people who earn at or below the city's median household income of $46,033.

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs initiated a program to give $500 to 125 people who earn at or below the city's median household income of $46,033. AP Photo


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A group of 11 mayors from across the country has formed an organization to push for providing a universal basic income, or cash payments that can help people make ends meet. Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs is leading the group called Mayors for a Guaranteed Income. Other members include Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “Economic insecurity isn’t new and poverty itself is violent. We need a policy solution that is as bold as it is innovative and as simple as it is ambitious,” the group said in a letter to Time magazine. The effort to advocate for a guaranteed income, as well as offer their own programs, comes as Stockton’s pilot program providing $500 a month to 125 people comes to a close after 18 months. The mayors group plans to work with the Economic Security Project, which paid for the Stockton UBI project and others. “All of the economic vulnerabilities that have been exposed [during the pandemic] are still going to be the case even if and when someone comes up with a cure for Covid-19,” Carter said. He noted that St. Paul, Minnesota gave out $1,000 to 1,200 low-income families this spring, as they dealt with the start of the coronavirus pandemic. But the city doesn’t have the money to continue that assistance. [The Guardian; Smart Cities Dive; KXTV]

RICHMOND EMERGENCY | Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is extending the state of emergency declaration in Richmond at the request of Mayor Levar Stoney, who said in a letter to the state that ongoing protests have left the city with "minimum funding to cover costs." [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

ARIZONA MASKS | As Covid-19 cases skyrocket in Arizona, the mayor in the town of Eager said he will not cancel events this summer like a Fourth of July parade or require residents to wear masks. "My response from the onset of Covid-19 pandemic has been that we will err on the side of freedom,” said Mayor Bryce Hamblin. [Arizona Republic]

MAYOR RESIGNS | The mayor of Carbon Hill, Alabama, a small town outside of Birmingham, resigned this week after he made comments disparaging the activism of University of Alabama football team members who have been voicing support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Mayor Mark Chambers said that he was selling his team merchandise because of their “sorry" political views. The city council needs to consider the resignation by Chambers, who has previously faced scrutiny for his social media posts.  [Associated Press]

BAR OWNERS | Twenty-two bar owners in Texas are suing Gov. Greg Abbott over his executive order to shut down bars in the state during a surge in coronavirus cases. The group is arguing that the order unconstitutionally bypasses the state legislature and unfairly discriminates against bar owners when places like barber shops and hair salons are allowed to operate at full capacity. “This one individual is picking and choosing winners and losers,” said Jared Woodfill, a lawyer representing the bar owners. “Governor Abbott has chosen to sentence bar owners to bankruptcy.” Abbott has said that shutting down bars is essential to halting coronavirus spread. [Washington Post]

Laura Maggi is the managing editor of Route Fifty and Emma Coleman is the assistant editor.

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