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Stockton Readying Universal Basic Income Program

STOCKTON (CBS13) — A big component of Stockton's new experimental program that gives free money to families is heading to the city's downtown area.

Right now, the mayor's office continues its work on developing the universal basic income project that has captured nationwide attention.

In a matter of months, people living in the city of Stockton will be receiving extra cash with no strings attached. It's funding families can use for just about anything.

"Food, maybe pay some bills, gas in the vehicle, a lot of different things. Families from this area, the inner city, it will go a long way for sure," said Christopher Moses, who lives in Stockton.

The experimental program, known as Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, was introduced by Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs. The program would pay $500 a month to low-income residents.

"They're written off; they don't have money because there is something wrong with them, and I want to demonstrate that when given the opportunity that people especially the people of Stockton will make good choices and the right choices for themselves and their families," said Tubbs.

The Economic Security Project helps fund the program. City leaders say artwork is a big component of the project. Three artists have been hired to create murals in Stockton.

"Ultimately, it's being used to start a conversation on the universal basic income project so that people will take it upon themselves and go and do research on it and see how impactful it can be for our community," said Matthew Amen, with Huddle and Ten Space.

A total of three murals will be on display in downtown Stockton.

In February, a director was hired to oversee the program. Right now, the search is on for a research partner that will help come up with guidelines on who may be eligible for the money. But not everyone is on board with the program.

"It has repercussions they haven't even discussed yet. And the major one is that don't have to work. There is no incentive to look for work," said Kathleen Gapusan, who lives in Stockton.

Tracking the money will be part of the planning phase. Universal Basic Income is already being used in the Bay Area and in Ontario, Canada.

"I don't know what kind of requirements Mr. Tubbs has in mind, but whatever they are, they are going to minimal," she said.

The mayor hopes to have the program up and running by the end of the year.

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