Local Politics

Durham city leaders consider guaranteed basic income program

Posted February 1, 2021 9:43 p.m. EST
Updated February 2, 2021 9:15 p.m. EST

— Durham City Council is one step closer to securing funds to be a part of a guaranteed basic income pilot program.

Councilman Mark-Anthony Middleton presented a resolution on Monday on committing Durham to the program, but there still has to be a vote.

In January, Mayor Steve Schewel announced that Durham was one of 30 cities in strong consideration to participate in a program funded by Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey. The 12- to 18-month program would give around 300 people basic income up to $1,000 a month.

The money would go to the city's poorest residents as a periodic payment with no strings attached. The money would be enough to cover basic needs and provide financial stability to those most in need.

Supporters of a universal basic income said the money gives an immediate boost to the economy and reduces poverty. Cities like Stockton, Calif., have already found success with their universal basic income experiments.

But those against it claim it’s far too expensive and encourages people to stop working because of a cash guarantee each month.

Middleton and Councilman Pierce Freelon are in charge of designing what the program will look like for Durham.

"There's a great deal of hope in our city at the prospect of Durham hosting a pilot for guaranteed income," said Middleton. "I feel very confident about our changes to get this money to fund this pilot here in Durham, but one of the requisite thresholds we have to cross is passing a resolution in support."

The next step is to vote on the resolution, which will take place on Thursday.

Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.