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Minneapolis taps $3M in COVID money for basic income pilot program

(The Center Square) – The city of Minneapolis will spend millions of dollars on a guaranteed basic income pilot program launched in June to help vulnerable families fight inflation.

Jeremy Lundborg, the program’s project manager, said that 200 families would be receiving $500 per month over two years, spent at the families’ discretion.

The GBI pilot is funded by $3 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

Eligibility includes:

  • At least 18 years old by Jan. 1, 2022.
  • Annual income at or below 50% of the area median income for Minneapolis.
  • Those hurt during the pandemic by job loss or reduced hours, higher health-care payments, and loss of access to child care, technology, or transportation.
  • Live in one of the following nine ZIP codes: 55403, 55404, 55405, 55407, 55411, 55412, 55413, 55430, 55454.

Many other local governments nationwide use similar tailored programs, with a mix of private and public funding, including:

  • Los Angeles.
  • Oakland County, California.
  • Sacramento, California.
  • Pittsburgh.
  • Lansing, Michigan

Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, wrote in Reason that previous studies found that a Universal Basic Income doesn’t compel people to work.

Rugy says that a UBI heaped onto already-existing social safety nets would only make government programs more inefficient and expensive.

The Federal Reserve of Minneapolis will evaluate its city program. In all, Minneapolis received $271 million in ARPA funds.

St. Paul started a similar pilot program in 2020.


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