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Mayor Elorza Advocates for “Guaranteed Income” for some Providence residents

A guaranteed income is a monthly cash payment given directly to individuals, empowering recipients to address their most urgent needs and providing a cushion for unpredictable expenses, external shocks, and volatility. It is unconditional, and is meant to supplement, rather than replace, the existing social safety net.

Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today joined 24 other mayors from across the country to announce Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI), a coalition of mayors who will explore cash payment programs in their cities and advocate for guaranteed income programs. The founding mayors of the network include: Michael D. Tubbs from Stockton, CA; Chokwe Antar Lumumba from Jackson, MS; Melvin Carter from Saint Paul, MN; Ras J. Baraka from Newark, NJ; Aja Brown from Compton, CA; Eric Garcetti from Los Angeles, CA; Adrian Perkins from Shreveport, LA; Libby Schaaf from Oakland, CA; Victoria R. Woodards from Tacoma, WA; Stephen Benjamin from Columbia, SC and Keisha Lance Bottoms from Atlanta, Georgia.

“The global pandemic has highlighted the inequities of our social safety net and exacerbated the disparities of health and wealth that exist for Black, Indigenous, and communities of color.” said Providence Mayor Elorza. “The best way to protect the long-term health and wellbeing of our communities is by providing direct financial assistance to our residents and I am inspired to join the Mayors for a Guaranteed Income to advocate for greater cash-based financial assistance policies at the municipal, state and federal level.”

Earlier this year, Mayor Elorza signed resolution in support of guaranteed income that was then also approved by the United States Conference of Mayors. The resolution calls for the advancement of the following principles: 

  • Advocate for a guaranteed income at the local, state, and federal level. 
  • Invest in narrative change efforts to highlight the lived experiences of economic insecurity.  
  • Invite all cities to join this effort, and provide technical assistance and funding support for new pilots. 

The USCM resolution (full text linked here), which was adopted on June 30 at the organization’s 88th annual meeting in Washington, D.C., encourages guaranteed income as a solution to economic insecurity, inequality, and poverty. A guaranteed income is a monthly cash payment given directly to individuals, empowering recipients to address their most urgent needs and providing a cushion for unpredictable expenses, external shocks, and volatility. It is unconditional, and is meant to supplement, rather than replace, the existing social safety net. 

Supporting a guaranteed income aims to address the wealth and income inequality that has reached historic heights across the United States. Nearly 40 percent of Americans cannot afford a single $400 emergency, and rising income inequality is compounded by a growing racial wealth gap. In Providence County, the median white family income is $60,437, nearly $20,000 more than the median Black family income of $30,709 and $15,000 more than the median income for Hispanic or Latino households of $35,139. In 2016, the wealthiest 5% of household in Providence earned incomes 16.7 times higher than the bottom 20%. Nationally, the median white worker made 28 percent more than the typical Black worker and 35 percent more than the median Latino worker in the last quarter of 2019. Additionally, the median wealth of white families is more than $100,000 while the median wealth of Black families is approximately $10,000. COVID-19 has further exposed the economic fragility of most American households, and has disproportionately impacting Black and brown communities.

Mayor Elorza will join these mayors for a press call today, Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 11:00AM ET, to discuss the expansion of Mayors for Guaranteed Income (MGI) and the rising support for guaranteed income programs across the country, the status of pilot programs in Saint Paul, MN, Hudson, NY and Long Beach, CA, and key developments in these cities since the coalition launched in June 2020. 

To join Zoom Meeting via computer visit: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89631881588

Webinar ID: 896 3188 1588

Passcode: 588073

One tap mobile:  +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)

You will be directed to the “waiting room” and then onto the call. 

To ensure the quality of this call, please remember to: 

  • Turn off your personal video feature
  • Mute your personal audio
  • Hold questions until the end

To learn more about Mayors for a Guaranteed Income visit www.mayorsforagi.org

ABOUT MAYORS FOR A GUARANTEED INCOME

Mayors for a Guaranteed Income is a coalition of mayors who will explore cash payment programs in their cities as a response to COVID-19 resulting in nationwide economic insecurity. The mayors will advocate for guaranteed income programs. Against a similar backdrop of civil unrest more than 50 years ago, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called for the immediate abolition of poverty, and his economic dream of guaranteed income for all Americans. Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton, CA founded the coalition following the success of his Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED), funded by several philanthropic organizations, including the Economic Security Project. To learn more about Mayors for a Guaranteed Income visit www.mayorsforagi.org

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