California lawmakers on Thursday approved the first state-funded guaranteed income plan, setting aside millions for monthly payments to pregnant people and young adults, the Associated Press reported on Thursday.
According to a proposed measure, local organizations and governments are allowed to apply for money and to run their programs. The state Department of Social Services will then decide who gets the funds.
Legislators say the main purpose of this new law is to help pregnant people and young adults who grew up in foster shelters transitioning to life on their own.
The law comes on the same day California is handing out families their first payments under the temporary expansion of the state’s federal tax credit, according to the AP.
State Sen. Dave Cortese (D) told the AP that this new bill can change the philosophy from “big brother government knows what’s best for you,” referring to how people struggle without government assistance.
“We’ve been very prescriptive with that population as a state and as counties go. Look at the failure,” Cortese said. “Half of them don’t get their high school diplomas, let alone advance like other people their age.”
State Assemblyman Vince Fong (R) argued that the proposed measure would devalue the meaning of work, creating more dependence on the government.
“We should be pushing policies that encourage the value of work,” Fong told the newswire. “Guaranteed income doesn’t provide the job training and skills needed for upward mobility.”
Various U.S. cities such as New Orleans and Tacoma, Wash., have recently announced federal guaranteed income programs, including Los Angeles, which plans to give an extra $1,000 per month to 2,000 needy families, the AP reported.
The law passed 36-0 in the Senate and 64-0 in the Assembly, the AP noted.