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Holyoke Residents May Get Paychecks - Without Having To Work For Them

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse has joined a small group of mayors who are dedicated to investigating how "universal basic income" would impact their communities.
Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse has joined a small group of mayors who are dedicated to investigating how "universal basic income" would impact their communities. Photo Credit: City of Holyoke

Holyoke residents may have a chance to receive a universal basic income - without working - through a billionaire-backed economic program.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has pledged $3 million to a small group of U.S. mayors -the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income - advocating for the start of universal basic income. Dorsey has a net worth of about $7 billion, according to Forbes.

A universal basic income is an economic theory that says providing people with no-strings-attached, no-work required, recurring payments will stamp out poverty and settle longstanding issues of income inequality. The regular payments would be enough to cover basic necessities, such as food, rent, electricity, etc.

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse joined the advocacy group that will receive Dorsey's largess, Mayors for Guaranteed Income, earlier this month. He said universal basic income is important because of the great number of economically disadvantaged people in the U.S. He said nearly 40 percent of Americans can’t afford a $400 emergency.

“A guaranteed income is crucial for combating poverty,” Morse said in a statement. It “is a building block for stronger communities.”

The Dorsey-donated money is meant to start universal basic income pilot programs in each of the receiving cities.

“This is one tool to close the wealth and income gap, level systemic race, and gender inequalities, and create economic security for families,” Dorsey tweeted earlier this month.

There are a few U.S. communities already experimenting with universal basic income or UBI. In Stockton, California, 125 residents have been paid $500 per month. In Jackson, Mississippi, a trust for black mothers has been giving out $1,000 monthly payments.

Universal basic income could be paid for by taxing the wealthiest Americans more fairly, according to Mayors for a Guaranteed Income.

In addition to Holyoke, other communities slated to receive Dorsey-backed UBI payments include Newark, New Jersey; Atlanta, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh. 

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