U.S. first state-funded guaranteed minimum income plan passed in California

California lawmakers on Thursday approved the first-ever state-funded guaranteed income plan in the United States. An amount of $35 million has been allotted for monthly cash payments that will be disseminated to qualifying pregnant people and young adults recently left for foster care, there will be no restrictions on the manner of spending.

The Senate voting results of 36-0 and 64-0 in the Assembly expressed bipartisan support for an idea that is quickly picking pace across the country. Selling the idea to the general populace has become easier as local programs and privately funded initiatives have sprung up in recent years.

California’s plan is taxpayer-funded and could lead the country in the implementation of this new idea.

“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 be responsible for running their programs. The decision-making will be handled by the state Department of Social Services. The local officials were given the task of determining the size of the monthly payments, generally ranging from $500 to $1000 in the programs that already exist around the country.

The voting coincided with the commencement of monthly payments under a temporary expansion of the federal child tax credit, received by millions of parents and viewed by many as a guaranteed form of income.

“Now there is momentum, things are moving quickly,” said Michael Tubbs, an adviser to Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was a trailblazer when he instituted a guaranteed income program as mayor of Stockton. “The next stop is the federal government.”