The Palm Springs, California City Council took steps toward creating a pilot program that would provide a universal basic income to transgender and nonbinary residents.

The council unanimously approved $200,000 in late March to two nonprofit organizations, Queer Works and DAP Health.

The two groups are now actively working to develop the pilot program and will seek to apply for a piece of $35 million in state funding for a universal basic income program sometime later this year.

NPR reports that “this was just the first step to develop the program, which would provide a regular no-strings-attached stipend.”

MSN indicates the groups haven’t settled on any specific numbers they are currently seeking but similar efforts have “ranged between $600 and $900 in direct funding per month for about 20 individuals, for a period of 18 months.”

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Palm Springs Moves Toward Universal Income to Transgender Residents

Palm Springs Mayor Lisa Middleton has denied the city is involved in funding universal basic income payments for their transgender or nonbinary residents.

“It is not what the headlines are reporting,” Middleton told the Advocate. “The headlines are wrong. And forgive me for saying that loudly, but it needs to be said the headlines have got it wrong.”

Middleton was first elected to the City Council in 2017 and is the first transgender person to be elected in California for a non-judicial position. She became the first openly transgender mayor in California in December of 2021.

Regardless of that denial, the city is providing funding for an application process for further funding that would be utilized by groups running a universal basic income pilot program for transgender residents. 

Middleton clarifies that the funding is ‘indirect.’

The Advocate reports Middleton’s explanation that “the funds provided by the city were meant only to help the program navigate through the application process to obtain funding from the state government, and not fund directly fund UBI.”

The founder of Queer Works, Jacob Rostovsky, hinted to NPR that the program could also fund other groups, though he didn’t say who that might be.

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The Country’s Wokest

Middleton’s argument appears to be that the state of California would eventually be on the hook for the actual funding of such a program in the future. 

Seattle radio host Jason Rantz blasted the city in an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson earlier this week.

He said the plan was “the country’s ‘wokest’ guaranteed income scheme” to date.

In contrast to Palm Springs ‘wokest’ efforts, at the other end of the country, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis blasted the NCAA for allowing transgender swimmer Lia Thomas to compete in women’s events and declaring the second-place swimmer Emma Weyant the rightful champion.

“By allowing men to compete in women’s sports, the NCAA is destroying opportunities for women, making a mockery of its championships, and perpetuating a fraud,” DeSantis said in a tweet.

Donald Trump vowed to ban biological males (transgender women) from competing in women’s sports should he run for and win the election as President in 2024.

Views on the matter are obviously split heavily. 

Universal income schemes have been advocated for by lawmakers ranging from AOC to Mitt Romney under various circumstances in the past.