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Los Angeles County Board considers ‘guaranteed income’

LA County Board of Supervisors (300075)
LA County Board of Supervisors Credit: LA County

The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to approve proposals for a pilot guaranteed basic income (GBI) program, one of which calls for $1,000 per month to be paid to 1,000 residents for at least three years.

Supervisor Kathryn Berger was the dissenting vote, expressing concerns about the lack of research into the plans and the potential for fraud.

Supervisors Holly Mitchell and Sheila Kuehl co-authored a motion declaring that poverty and economic opportunity are public health issues and calling for a broad strategic plan to address a growing wealth gap.

“As we endeavor to create a more resilient economy … we must explore guaranteed income and other measures of poverty alleviation as permanent county policy, not just as an emergency measure,’’ the motion read in part.

Pointing to racial discrimination as the cause of higher unemployment rates and limited access to good housing, good schools, and good jobs, the motion called for a new approach.

The Mitchell/Kuehl motion also called on the county’s chief executive officer to come up with a guaranteed income pilot program to serve at least 1,000 residents for three years — finding funding within 30 days and then coming up with a plan for a broader initiative within six months.

Supervisor Hilda Solis put forth a second motion, also approved on a 4- 1 vote with Barger dissenting, calling for a roadmap for implementing a guaranteed basic income program within 60 days.

“Los Angeles County has a 22.3-percent poverty rate, the highest in California,’’ Solis said. “A well-crafted GBI program has the potential to assist low-income families to meet basic needs and be placed on a path to economic mobility.’’

Barger said she would have liked to see programs “to expand future self-sufficiency through workforce training or educational attainment’’ and a plan to target foster youth aging out of county supervision.