Austin, TX

Austin is Giving Residents $1,000 a Month in Guaranteed Income

Tom Handy

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Austin announcing the guaranteed income planScreenshot from Twitter

Austin Texas is planning to fund $1.1 million to residents on the guaranteed income program. They are one of the first cities in Texas to authorize this.

KXAN reports:

“These taxpayer funds will give $1,000 a month to 85 families or individuals facing extreme financial hardship. Survey results showed slightly more than 30% of the pilot program’s participants have a household income below $10,000, while almost 52% said they made less than $15,000.”

Travis County Judge said food access is important.

“There are some organizations that actually work to grow food and provide fresh vegetables to communities — maybe vegetables that people who are living here as refugees are more familiar with. They’re helping grow that at a lower cost. There’s a lot of different ways that people are getting food out through this program.”

A year ago, City Council approved building more affordable housing as the price for residents continued to increase.

The State of California initiated its guaranteed income plan for $35 million in the 2021 - 2022 budget and it's expected to last for five years helping qualified residents.

Not everyone supports the guaranteed income plan

Texas Representative elect Ellen Troxclair wants to put a stop to programs like this in Texas. She filed three pieces of legislation.

The proposal reads:

“Notwithstanding any other law, a political subdivision may not adopt or enforce an ordinance, order, or other measure providing for a universal basic income.”

Troxclair’s proposal aims to ban others from doing something similar as Austin City Council did with $1.1 million in taxpayer dollars in May. Council agreed to provide $1,000 per month to 85 families or individuals for a year. The first payments already went out.

Troxclair doesn’t believe this is the best way to spend taxpayer money.

“Programs like this, which give participants up to $12,000 a year without any kind of participation in the labor market, that money comes from taxpayers,” she said. “That money comes from somebody else who is already struggling to make their ends meet and to pay their rent.”

Others support the idea

Outgoing Council Member Kathie Tovo said on Tuesday:

“I understand we’ve been in this kind of position before with the state. But I think this particular conversation is really unfortunate because it has the potential to remove resources, really critical resources, from Texas families who need them.”

Participants who are eligible must be 18 years of age and live within Austin and Travis County limits. They must have a household income less than 60 percent of the area median family income for a family of four ($66,180). Additionally, they must not have participated in UpTogether’s guaranteed income pilot program that ran from March 2021 to March 2022.

St. David's Foundation provided funds for 50 families.

The 2021 to 2022 pilot program was successful as 173 participants in the Austin and Georgetown areas used their monthly $1,000 payment on basic expenses - rent and mortgage payments, utilities, food, clothing, household items, and transportation.

Here is a video from when the program was announced several months ago:

What do you think about the guaranteed income plan?

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