Why free money makes you more likely to get a job: Basic income lessons from Tacoma and beyond


Stephanie Bartella felt like she couldn’t win.

She’d worked up the courage to leave what she described as an unsafe marriage with her four kids. Then she moved from Texas to Tacoma, Washington, to be closer to her parents. She earned her bachelor’s degree, got a job at Pierce College, and made a financial plan for her family. But after all of that, she still had to put the utility bill on her credit card.

“It felt really defeating,” she said.

Bartella was considering getting a second job when her luck turned around. She found out she was selected for Tacoma’s first guaranteed basic-income pilot. She would receive $500 a month for a year through Growing Resilience in Tacoma (GRIT).

“It felt like winning the lottery, really,” Bartella said.

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