Rochester, New York Introduces Universal Basic Income Program

During a press conference held on June 22, 2023, Rochester Mayor Malik Evans, in addition to community partners, announced the roll out of the city’s guaranteed basic income program (GBI).

The program also provides monthly payments of $500 to 351 people for 12 months. Applications are restricted to one individual per household. This pilot program will be funded with $2.2 million of the American Rescue Plan Act funds that were allocated to the city of Rochester.

Applications were open to qualified city residents from June 22 until June 29. 

The Democrat & Chronicle listed off some of the qualifications for the GBI program.

Must be at least 18 years of age.

  • Must be a resident of the City of Rochester for at least one year.
  • Only one individual per household can participate in the program. A “household” means people who live in the same home and share finances. For instance, parents and children or people who are married. Roommates who do not share finances are not considered one “household.”
  • Your household income must be at or below 185% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Qualified incomes are as follows:
    • Single person — $26,973
    • 2 people — $36,482
    • 3 people — $45,991
    • 4 people — $55,500
    • 5 people — $65,009
    • 6 people — $74,518
    • 7 people — $84,027
    • 8 people — $93,536”

On top of that, applicants are required to reside in a qualified census tract that is within the City of Rochester. 

The GBI funds will be allocated to individuals via direct deposit payments. Individuals selected for the funding will not be subject to work requirements or restrictions on how they spend the money. 

This program and other permutations have slowly been rolled out in cities across the nation. Stockton, California broke the mold in 2019 when it rolled its own UBI program. 

It will likely be only a matter of time before more jurisdictions and even states begin adopting the UBI. This program is misguided at best. While a UBI, all things being equal, would be a solid alternative to the present welfare model, it still has its flaws.

The fact is that the UBI will not replace the current welfare system. It will be tacked on to it and only make the US’s fiscal situation even worse. This will place even greater pressure on the political class to debase the currency, thereby provoking an inflationary crisis.

If we desire economic stability, we must downsize the regulatory state, simplify the tax code, and introduce competing currencies.

Our Latest Articles