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LA mayor seeks $24 million for guaranteed income pilot program

Los Angeles Mayor Eric GarcettiEric GarcettiBiden administration in talks with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti for India ambassador post: reports Hillicon Valley: DOJ to review cyber challenges | Gaetz, House Republicans want to end funding for postal service surveillance | TikTok gets new CEO Mass vaccination site at Dodger Stadium to shut down by May MORE (D) said in an interview published on Monday that he will ask the Los Angeles City Council to set aside $24 million in next year’s budget to provide a guaranteed monthly income to 2,000 L.A.-area families.

"We have to end America's addiction to poverty," Garcetti said in an interview with LAist. "For families who can't think past the next bill, the next shift or the next health problem that they have, we can give them the space to not only dream of a better life, but to actualize it."

The proposal, titled BIG: LEAP (Basic Income Guaranteed: L.A. Economic Assistance Pilot), will provide 2,000 families living at or below the poverty level with an unconditional monthly payment of $1,000. A full set of qualifications have not been set, but will probably include supporting a child under the age of 18 as well as demonstrated medical and financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, LAist reports.

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The experimental pilot program will be part of Garcetti's "Equity and Justice Budget" that he is set to introduce during his State of the City speech on Monday.

"This pandemic has thrown everything up in the air," Garcetti said. "This is an America willing to say, If we were so good, why did so many people die? Why was it so disproportionate in certain communities? And if we're not as good as we thought we were, how can we become better?"

Garcetti said he plans to "transform systems" with the $1.3 billion L.A. received from the American Rescue Plan earlier this year.

"This is not small ball," he told the outlet. "It isn't just the biggest budget I've ever overseen — it's the most progressive, and I would argue the most progressive in the country."

The former Democratic mayor of Stockton, Calif., Michael Tubbs, previously told The Hill in March that his city's basic income experiment defied preconceived notions on guaranteed income, such as de-incentivizing employment. Tubbs said people who received a basic income were two times more likely to be employed.

"$500 was enough to allow people to exit exploitative jobs, exploitative relationships and find full-time work when stable hours with benefits," Tubbs said. "[It] allowed people to pay for things like transportation and child care and interview clothes, which makes them more likely to find full-time employment."

According to Tubbs, the effects that basic income had one mental health were comparable to Prozac, in terms of reduced stress levels and depression.