A Guaranteed Income for Massachusetts
Though our local economy was booming for years, it was failing to deliver for far too many households. While top-earners saw their wages surge, low and middle-income households – made up disproportionately of people of color – saw their incomes increase very little. Then the COVID crisis struck and millions of households that had already been struggling began falling into deeper economic hardship.
Boston Indicators will be releasing a brief at this webinar, building on the renewed interest in direct cash payments and advancing one big idea for addressing these challenges: proposing and modeling a suite of expansions to the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit in order to provide all lower-income families earning up to $70,000 a credit of at least $1,200 a year (and often much more). These reforms would cover households with no income currently excluded from the state EITC.
The concept of a guaranteed income actually has deep roots in the Civil Rights movement. As part of the “Poor People’s Campaign,” for instance, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stressed that a market economy does not ensure the elimination of poverty and advocated distributing cash directly to those in need.
This event will feature presentations from the paper’s co-authors, including the Economic Security Project, which has been leading national efforts to build guaranteed income programs, and the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, an independent research center that analyzes how state policy affects low- and moderate-income families in Massachusetts. Discussion will include efforts to implement similar cash payment programs in other U.S. states and how this idea fits into the local conversation about ensuring an inclusive recovery to the COVID crisis.