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Californians would receive $1K each month under proposed law

Posted at 6:39 AM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 13:46:35-04

A California bill proposed in the state Assembly would give each household $1,000 per month, no strings attached, in an effort to help ease financial burdens.

The proposal is a lot like the idea former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang ran on.

What's called Universal Basic Income would disburse $1,000 each month to every California adult who is not already receiving government assistance.

"The real attractiveness of UBI is it's something that would be easy for the government to do and wouldn't require a lot of bureaucracy," Mike Latner, a Cal Poly political science professor and political analyst, said.

To fund the program, all goods and services that are not already taxed would be saddled with a 10 percent value added sales tax.

That differs from the program funding outlined by Yang, who intended to tax America's largest companies.

Under the CA law, necessities like groceries and medicine would be exempt from the VAT.

The program is something Latner believes could cut through red tape when it comes to helping out low income residents in the state.

"You avoid a lot of the administrative costs of re-distributive programs by simply allocating money to everyone so you don't have to monitor and process all the work that's involved with something like redistribution programs," Latner said. "The downside is it tends to be expensive."

How expensive? Before that can be determined, the measure must first go through a financial analysis.

"Inequality is a massive problem in California," Latner said. "We have one of the largest levels of inequality in the country and it's something we need to do something about. Whether it's the right strategy remains up to the economic analysis."

The bill had been scheduled for a hearing later this month but that could be postponed due to the spread of the coronavirus.

The proposed measure comes as Utah Sen. Mitt Romney argues each American should receive $1,000 to help offset the impacts of the coronavirus spread.