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Minnesota House panel OKs basic income program

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(The Center Square) – A Minnesota House panel approved a bill that would implement a basic income program to provide at least $500 per month in direct cash payments.

A one-time $100 million General Fund appropriation in fiscal year 2025 would fund the program through 2028.

House File 2666 would provide the $500 per month for 18 to 24 months to eligible recipients statewide.

Eligible recipients must be in need, be receiving public benefits and have household income less than or equal to 300% of the federal poverty level.

Bill sponsor Rep. Athena Hollins, DFL-St. Paul, said all people should be eligible for the payments to reduce crime and poverty.

“Even if you’re a recent immigrant or you’re a migrant worker, you’re still a part of that community,” Hollins said. “There are communities that are relying on these people to provide services.”

If enacted, the Department of Human Services would award competitive grants to local and tribal governments and nonprofit organizations that would create basic income programs.

At least one independent research group would evaluate the program and report annually to the agency and report to the Legislature by January 2027.

Rep. Walter Hudson, R-Albertville, said there were few restrictions on how nonprofits could spend the money or who would get it. The bill prohibits requiring grantees to require providing other proof of income, residency, citizenship or other identifying information.

“This program very explicitly would provide support to illegal immigrants or persons claiming to be someone other than they actually are,” Hudson said. “We’re not even going to question that, there’s not going to be any documentation whatsoever.”

The cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis use a guaranteed basic income program.

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