This summer, a coalition of U.S. mayors joined forces to win support for the idea of providing guaranteed income for struggling Americans. St. Paul’s mayor is part of the group calling for these direct payments that would come with no strings attached. 

Nearly a dozen mayors from across the country, including St. Paul’s Melvin Carter, have pledged to seek such efforts, saying the pandemic crisis has only widened the gap for certain people and their ability to survive. Carter said gainful employment will be harder to come by as the nation tries to overcome the crisis, making it difficult for some to participate in a consumer-driven economy.

“Over the long term, we’ll run out of consumers if we don’t figure out some type of way to ensure that community members can afford to live with dignity in our communities across the country,” Carter said.

The movement stemmed from a payment program initiated by Stockton, California, in 2019. Carter said as a trial project, he would like to identify 135 low-income families in St. Paul to receive $500 a month over 18 months. 

Opponents of the movement question the affordability of these plans, while noting it doesn’t provide longstanding solutions. 

Carter said he doesn’t envision this being a long-term approach for the city. He hopes it will inspire a more broad approach at the state and federal level. 

He said it also can complement existing assistance programs that don’t work for everybody who is struggling.

“When we create these paternalistic, super-prescriptive programs, we spend a lot of money on things that aren’t providing the best resources, that aren’t providing the best help to those families,” he said.

Carter said families selected for payments in St. Paul would be connected to the city’s college saving’s account initiative. But it’s unclear yet if any other specific components to the cash payment plan have materialized, and whether they would win enough support from the city council.

9 thoughts on “St. Paul Joins Call for Guaranteed Income for Struggling Residents

  1. There’s zero incentive to work with these programs. The reason Socialism always fails. Instead, educate these people and give them useable skills to earn a proper income.

  2. Middle class is getting the bill for these give away programs. My property tax bill has risen to $452 .00 a month. I’m estimating that the property taxes on rental property is double that . Then they have nerve to say there is no affordable housing. Have you noticed all of the for sale signs on Summit Avenue? Maybe they will have no choice but to sell their mansions to a developers and create apartments.
    Most of our good paying jobs are leaving the cities because of property taxes and the failure of our local government to maintain law and order. It seems like the only businesses that can afford these taxes are public storage companies , which create very few jobs.

    The total annual cost of my health insurance and the out of pocket before the insurance company pays a dime is $15,000 year. And politicians call this affordable health care.
    Our mayors demanded a minimum wage increase to $15.00 an hour, then complain there are no opportunities for the youth of today to gain work experience. The minimum wage increase should be phased in either by the the business owners rewarding the employee for a job well done or by the age of 21. Very little of this wage increase helps the employee, most of the money benifits every level of government through sales tax , income taxes, increases social security and labor related insurance taxes and fees.
    They keep telling the youth of today that they should go to college. But most are run by government, and are unaffordable to the middle class and the working poor.

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