Ras Baraka, the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, wants to pilot a universal basic income program in the city.
Baraka announced his intention to launch the pilot program during his State of the City address last Tuesday, reports The Star-Ledger. The plan would guarantee Newark residents a set amount of money each month.
Baraka did not announce how much the program would give residents, but the universal basic income model generally features monthly payments of $500-$1,000. The Stockton, California, universal basic income pilot Blavity reported on pays residents $500 a month.
“We believe in universal basic income, especially in a time where studies have shown that families that have a crisis of just $400 in a month may experience a setback that may be difficult, even impossible, to recover from,” Baraka said.
According to the Census Bureau, 27.8 percent of Newark residents live below the poverty line, reports the New York Daily News. The Department of Health and Human Services defines the poverty line for a single person as $12,490; for a household of four, the poverty line is $25,750. The average Newark household makes $35,000 a year.
During his speech, Baraka reaffirmed his commitment to bringing jobs to New Jersey’s largest city and insisted he wasn’t bitter about Amazon building its headquarters elsewhere.
“We made it to the game and we still playing,” he said. “We are courting the world through the vehicle of Amazon.”
The two-term mayor also touted his belief in the people and businesses of Newark.
“If you have not hired Newark employees then you are missing the boat,” Baraka said. “If you are not spending money with local businesses then your use in our town is waning. We need you to be a part of Newark’s growth.”
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