Lori Lightfoot Announces Basic Income of $500 a Month after Defunding Police of $80M
The program was approved by the city's council on Wednesday a
Mayor of Chicago Lori Lightfoot announced a $31 million universal basic income pilot in 2022, giving a guaranteed $500 a month to low-income families.
The program was approved by the city's council on Wednesday and is part of Lightfoot's $16.7 billion proposed budget for 2022
The budget also slashed the Chicago Police spending to $1.9 billion after cutting $80 million in 2020 following protests to defund the department.
The income pilots became popular in 2019 when the city of Stockton, California, began giving stipends to 125 of its residents.
The decisions came not long after the Los Angeles city council approved a COVID-19 relief program providing $1,000 monthly payments to thousands of families.
Over 3,000 families will receive assistance from BIG:LEAP, or Basic Income Guaranteed: Los Angeles Economic Assistance Pilot.
Lightfoot called it 'the most progressive' budget in the history of Chicago.
"This program is controversial for some. But for me, it just makes plain sense," Lightfoot said, according to The Chicago Sun-Times.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said it was "the largest guaranteed basic income program anywhere in the United States of America."
The pilot program in New York is giving payments of $1,250 to as many as 40 homeless people for two years.
The recipients can receive their money in incremental payments or upfront as cash.
Around 40 mayors have either started to consider or successfully launched guaranteed income programs since 2019.
Critics warn of the downsides of people relying on fixed income can become discouraged from joining the workforce.
The National Federation of Independent Business reported more than half of small businesses are having trouble filling up jobs in October.
Earlier this week, Lightfoot faced "almost deafening" boos as she walked onstage to speak at a union fundraiser.
She was speaking at an event for Plumbers Union Local 130 - the first union to endorse her in 2019.
Video shows the crowd erupting into overwhelming booing as she walks on stage to speak.
The mayor “spoke for less than a minute," one attendee told reporters.