Twitter To Help Fund Shreveport Universal Basic Income Plan
A couple of weeks ago, reports surfaced that Shreveport was selected as one of the first dozen cities to take part in a Universal Basic Income pilot program. The program will cover cities across the country like Newark, NJ; Columbia, SC; Atlanta, GA; Compton, CA. St. Paul, MN; Seattle, WA; Los Angeles, CA; Long Beach, CA; Holyoke, MA; Jackson, MS; Pittsburgh, PA; Adrian Perkins,Madison, WI; Oakland, CA, and Tacoma, WA.
The pilot program would dive monthly cash payments to households inside each city, including Shreveport. The design of the program is that the payments would have "no strings attached and no work requirement". The idea being the members of the household would be given help to achieve a livable wage, or to afford them more opportunity to risk asking for a promotion or explore a new career path.
When the program's inclusion of Shreveport was announced, one of the loudest questions was "who's going to pay for this"? The program is not funded by public dollars, and is not designed to impact anyone's taxes. So how does it get funded?
Well, the overall answer is private money. More specifically, it will be multiple private citizens donating to the program. We now know who one of the first major benefactors will be.
Newsweek has reported that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will be contributing $3 million up front to the program. Dorsey Tweeted:
"This is one tool to close the wealth and income gap, level systemic race and gender inequalities, and create economic security for families."
Dorsey's net worth is estimated to be over $7 billion, and growing. So he fits the profile of the type of benefactor that will be needed for this pilot program. Though not all of his donation will be used for direct payments.
According to the Newsweek report, Dorsey's contribution will mostly be used for direct programs in Stockton, CA, but a portion will be split across all cities, including Shreveport, to help with research and planning for the Shreveport program. But there's no indication that this will be Dorsey's lone contribution to the program. Earlier this year, Dorsey moved $1 billion in equity from his payment company Square into philanthropic avenues. The new program is called SmartSmall, and Dorsey has indicated that Universal Basic Income will be one of their main focal points.
Meaning that through SmartSmall, Doresy could be helping to further fund the project in Shreveport. Not just through the research and planning stages, but the actual payment program that the city could eventually utilize.