Providence among newest cities to join coalition advocating for cash-based policies and best practices in existing guaranteed income programs across the country
September 16, 2020
PROVIDENCE, RI– 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 a 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 levels.
- 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 households 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.
To learn more about Mayors for a Guaranteed Income visit www.mayorsforagi.org.