NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
OLYMPIA — State Sen. Joe Nguyen is proposing a Washington state version of Andrew Yang’s universal basic income.
Nguyen introduced Senate Bill 6625 on Jan. 24—which would give 500 adults in Washington state $500 a month for 18 months. The program would cost approximately $7 million over the state’s two-year budget cycle. The trial benefit would be available to people who are also eligible for assistance through the state’s Basic Food program.
Nguyen said with the decline in retail jobs and other types of traditional employment, “We do need to have some sort of basic income to take care of folks on the margins.”
Nguyen says the program could be paid for through a new tax on employers that pay people salaries in excess of $1 million per year. The tax would be paid by the companies themselves, not by the employees, he said.
Under Nguyen’s bill, people who receive the $500 benefit would still be eligible for other income-based programs, such as food stamps and the state’s housing and essential needs program.
Senate Minority Leader Mark Schoesler called Nguyen’s idea “a gateway drug to socialism.”
The Republican lawmaker said he is concerned about putting new burdens on companies that create jobs, as well as Democrats opening the door to an income tax that would affect other people throughout the state.
Staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.