Chicago to launch universal basic income program, paying $500 a month

State News

FILE – In this Monday, May 10, 2021, file photo, Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a news conference in Chicago. After decades of organizing by parents, activists and unions, Chicago is on the verge of having a fully-elected school board for the first time in its history. Among the most vocal critics is first-term Mayor Lightfoot, who would lose control of a board that’s been her rubber stamp, if she remains in office. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Chicago will launch a universal basic income program which will pay $500 a month to 5,000 low-income families.

Most of the funds will come from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan and was included in the city’s $16.7 billion 2022 budget, according to WFLD.

Applicants for the program will be chosen at random, but must earn less than $35,000 a year to qualify.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot hailed the program as a means to lift people out of poverty, but critics have said it encourages people to avoid work during a labor shortage.

“I am beyond excited to announce the passage of the most progressive and forward-looking budget in our city’s history,” Lightfoot said in a statement.

Forty other cities, including Los Angeles, have considered plans to launch universal basic income programs.

Chicago’s budget also includes millions for police, violence prevention, and mental health programs.

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