Universal basic income for farmworkers?


A Fresno-area politician wants California to prioritize struggling San Joaquin Valley farmworkers in a proposed pilot program that would put cash in the hands of some the state’s impoverished residents.

State Sen. Melissa Hurtado, a Democrat from Sanger, issued a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom last week urging the state to prioritize California’s “displaced, underemployed, or unemployed farmworkers” for the Universal Basic Income pilot program.

“The drought, extreme heat, the pandemic, and overtime pay rules are creating a dire situation for them. By expanding the proposed UBI program to farmworkers, it’s not only an investment in farmworkers — but in all of California,” wrote Hurtado.

In his revised budget proposed last month, Newsom allocated $35 million to fund UBI pilot programs administered by local city or county governments. Under Newsom’s latest proposal, the funding would require a local-match commitment and must target low-income Californians.

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