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California is experimenting with large-scale guaranteed income programs

Julien Gregorio / Used Under CC
Flickr / Creative Commons

In all, California counts more than 40 pilot programs supported by public, and private funds that have run, are operating, or are planning to launch.

These programs send participants regular cash payments for a period of time ranging between $300 to $1,800 a month -- for six months to three years.

This is the largest modern U.S. experiment as California is the first state to have launched this many guaranteed income pilot programs at the same time.

The state is testing the idea of a guaranteed income that targets specific groups. Supporters of the programs say that discretionary cash — as opposed to standard welfare programs — gives low-income residents the freedom to address “challenges that hold them back, be it high rent - a broken-down car - a lack of savings - or unexpected emergencies,” as CalMatters mentions

Sean Kline, associate director of the Stanford Basic Income Lab, told CalMatters, “All of these pilots are seeking to demonstrate what’s possible across the country for state and federal policy.”

There are no programs currently enrolling participants, but this could change in the future, if the state legislature allocates more funding for these pilots.