Tomas Vargas, a recipient of Stockton’s “universal basic income” program.

Although the Stockton SEED (Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration) basic income-type experiment is still ongoing, some encouraging signs are already showing up. Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs already says that “I think the data shows that people make good decisions, people are healthier, happier”, and a few of the program’s beneficiaries have already given positive feedback.

That is the case of Stockton resident Tomas Vargas, who earns less than the official poverty line, which at the moment stands at 46000 $/year. His view of the program and his personal experience has been recorded on a short podcast on Capital Public Radio, after he knew he would receive 500 $/month, no strings attached, for 18 months (more details of the program in previous news articles). Although that value amounts to only about 20% of Vargas earnings, and to 13% of the poverty line, he still says that “It makes a difference on choices I can make”. He talks about a “big stress relief”, and has a clear notion that the experiment will have an impact for the future of the basic income policy, at least in Stockton.

Although briefly, Tubbs skimmed through the UBI experiment in the latest State of The City 2019, where he delivered an hour-long, much appreciated speech focusing on poverty, crime, housing and community building.

More information at:

Rich Ibarra, “Low-Income Stockton Residents Praise City’s ‘Universal Basic Income’ Program”, Capital Public Radio, May 22nd 2019

Rich Ibarra, “Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs Delivers 2019 State of The City”, Capital Public Radio, May 23nd 2019

Kate McFarland, “STOCKTON, CA, US: New Details Revealed in Planned Basic Income Demonstration”, Basic Income News, 23rd August 2018