Illinois Democrats Push Proposal For Guaranteed Basic Income Program

Illinois Democrats are pushing a taxpayer-funded proposal that would create a state-based guaranteed income program. Senate Bill 3462, introduced by Sen. Ram Villivalam, would establish the Illinois Guaranteed Income Law. 

Some local and state governments have implemented guaranteed income programs on an experimental basis. Guaranteed income programs provide regular monthly payments to targeted individuals, usually for a defined length of time. These programs can promote government dependency and a reliance on handouts while decreasing incentives to work, all while costing taxpayers millions of dollars. 

Senate Bill 3462 would create the Guaranteed Income Implementation Board within the Department of Human Services. This board would evaluate the efficiency of the guaranteed income program, propose policies to implement one or more permanent guaranteed income programs, and provide oversight related to the implementation of any guaranteed income program. After the board is dissolved in 2027, the Department of Human Services, subject to appropriation, would provide, regardless of immigration status, monthly $1,000 cash payments to qualifying Illinois residents. Those qualifications would include individuals that are: caring for a child or specified dependent, recently giving birth or adopting a child, or enrolling in an educational or vocational program. It is not clear how long the payments would last, and participants are eligible for renewal of their monthly cash benefits. 

Pilot guaranteed income programs have been established across the U.S., including Illinois. Taxpayers in the state are already on the hook for millions of dollars to fund these programs in the Chicago and East St. Louis areas, with Chicago handing out $500 monthly payments to 5,000 low -income residents. 

Unlike other taxpayer-funded programs that provide specific assistance for food purchases or utility bill payments, this proposed Illinois program allowing for “unrestricted cash” means the funds can be used for any purpose, increasing the likelihood that money is spent frivolously or for purposes forbidden under law. 

Follow Senate Bill 3462.