By Bob Katzen

This bill (S 1883) – Establishes a universal basic income pilot program run by Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) under which 100 persons would be given $1,000 per month over a two-year period.

Participants would be a diverse representation of all demographics of the state including race, gender identity, sexual orientation and educational achievement. Recipients would be allowed to spend the money without restrictions except for a prohibition on the purchase of illegal drugs.

The program would be funded by a public-private partnership with local businesses, non-profits and/or private foundations and no state money would be used to fund the monthly grants. However, the administration of the program would be handled by the DTA which is funded with state money.

Following the completion of the program, DTA would have up to a year to issue a report including information about how the funds were spent; the socioeconomic background of the participants prior to entering into the study; how the participants’ qualities of life evolved over the period of time of the study; and recommendations for permanent implementation of this program on a larger scale.

“COVID relief payments directly to individuals have highlighted the important role direct assistance can play in stabilizing vulnerable individuals and families,” said Sen. Adam Hinds (D-Pittsfield), the bill’s sponsor. “This pilot creates a floor of income for targeted individuals, and so far we have seen when that happens it results in positive outcomes for kids, healthcare access and more.”

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