March 15, 2021
Dear Mayor Gloria,
We are looking forward to working closely with you as you move San Diego to becoming a more prosperous city. There was a program run by other Mayors that could be used to help the economically disadvantaged in our fair city. The program gave a consistent $500.00 a month to bring people out of poverty with a guaranteed monthly income. Supporters say it gives people the much-needed financial security to find good jobs and avoid debt. It was the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration. It was run by former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs. He didn’t use any tax dollars as it was funded by private donations, including funds from co-founder Chris Hughes of Facebook.
Universal basic income has helped those who were hit the hardest in the economic downturn in our city-the foreclosure capital of the United States. They were able to track the spending habits through the debit card they were given. The categories where much of the money was spent was on food, utilities, and auto repairs.
When the program started in February 2019, 28% of the people slated to get the free money had full-time jobs. One year later, 40% of those people had full-time jobs. A control group of people who did not get the money saw only a 5-percentage point increase in full-time employment over that same time period, from 32% to 37%.
The researchers said that the extra $500 per month was enough for people with part-time jobs to take time off so they could interview for full-time jobs that offered better pay. They also said the money could have helped people who weren’t working at all find jobs by allowing them to pay for transportation to interviews.
After a year of getting the money, 62% of the people were paying off debt compared to 52% before the study. Researchers also said that most people moved from being likely to have a mild mental health disorder to “likely mental wellness.”
We’re asking that you join with other Mayors in our state for a guaranteed income. There is a proposal in the California legislature for $1,000 dollars per month for three years for those in the program. We are looking forward to seeing similar results as you implement a program of your own.
Wiley Lane III, Chairman of the Economic Development Committee
NAACP San Diego Branch
CC: The San Diego City Council
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