Universal Basic Income May Come to Washington State

State Senators Nguyen and Lovelett want to give some people $500.00 as part of their “Universal Basic Income” pilot project in Washington State.

The Bill, SB 6625, would give $500 If you are 18 or older and on government assistance and the $12,000.00 per year SHALL NOT be considered for the means testing used for eligibility for other programs. Persons eligible would be eligible for all the same programs and state benefits with an extra $12,000.00, which would not be considered for the means testing on existing or newly created social programs.

Peter Abbarno in front of his law office, Althauser Rayan Abbarno, in downtown Centralia.

Senate Bill 6625 mimics many of the policies adopted by Democrat Presidential Candidates like Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang. Universal Basic Income only perpetuates poverty and does nothing to open the door to opportunity, teach work ethic, or deliver fiscal responsibility. There is a false premise that a “Universal Basic Income” program is free. It is not free for working families and small businesses.

Peter Abbarno, Centralia City Mayor Pro Tem

According to think tank, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, it is estimated that a universal basic income plan slightly less generous than Yang’s would cost the federal government between $30 trillion and $40 trillion over 10 years. According to Crosscut, Senator Nguyen said his 500-person pilot program would come with a much smaller price tag: more like $7 million over the state’s two-year budget cycle.

There are many disadvantages to the idea of a Universal Basic Income; especially as presented by Senator Nguyen. Most notably

  • There won’t be an increased standard of living because of inflated prices;
  • Free income may disincentive people to get jobs; making work appear optional; and
  • Free income to some puts a greater financial burden on working families.
Centralia attorney Peter Abbarno joins AWB Government Affairs Director Clay Hill to testify in opposition to Senate Bill 5129, which would increase taxes on employers. (Photo: Brian Mittge/AWB)

Free income is not “free”! There is a substantial cost to working families who are paying taxes and small businesses- like mine- that are paying taxes. This is a redistribution of wealth scheme that punishes creativity, innovation, and hard work. There are better ways to give a hand up and teach self-sufficiency than free income which is a hand out that only teaches reliance on government.

Peter Abbarno, Centralia City Mayor Pro Tem

According to a recently commentary in Investor’s Business Daily, in 2017, Finland experimented with a pilot program, putting 2,000 randomly chosen Finns on UBI, with the government providing a monthly check of €560. Finland abruptly decided to not extend its experiment;  according to an independent analysis, Finland would have been forced to raise their income tax by nearly 30% to keep such a program alive.

In Canada, Ontario’s government decided to launch a UBI experiment in July of 2017. In 2018, they decided to end the experiment — ahead of schedule. Upon the conclusion of the trial, a Canadian official called the experiment “quite expensive” and said “it was certainly not going to be sustainable.”

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