Back in June of this year, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway joined 14 other mayors to form a group advocating for local guaranteed income policies.
The coalition is called Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, or MGI, and it’s grown to include 30 mayors from across the U.S..
Yesterday, the group announced funding of $15 million from an unexpected source: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who’s previously given smaller sums to the group.
The funds will be distributed to 9 cities for guaranteed income pilot programs. And Madison is one of those cities, alongside others like Los Angeles, California and Richmond, Virginia.
Madison will get about $600,000 under the pilot program, which will likely be used to aid the city’s housing crisis.
Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway says guaranteed income — which includes ongoing direct payments to low-income individuals — works better alleviate poverty than supplemental programs.
“And we learned this, because we know that the majority of CARES act stimulus funding, almost 60%, was spent on housing, food, utilities, and other bills,” she said at a press conference on Tuesday.
MGI was founded by former mayor of Stockton, California Michael Tubbs. Tubbs said the group is a response for people struggling to purchase food and housing while national government is failing to take action.
“And let’s be clear about why this is being done,” said Tubbs. “That philanthropy and charity is not justice, but in the absence of leadership from Mitch McConnell and the Republican controlled senate, our constituents need cash relief. Our constituents need regular ongoing payments. If they won’t provide them, us mayors will do everything possible we can.”
Support for guaranteed income, also known as universal basic income, has been growing. In 2019, the Hill reported 49% of Americans support UBI. At the start of 2020, a poll by GenForward at the University of Chicago found support among the majority of young adults