Austin City Council postpones vote on $1.18M guaranteed income plan after council members raise questions

The plan would give $1,000 a month of taxpayer funds to 85 Austin households for one year

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The Austin City Council decided to postpone a vote on a $1.18 million guaranteed income plan after several members raised questions about the program and requested the delay. 

Council Member Mackenzie Kelly, who represents District 6, has led the charge against the program, saying on the council's message board that key performance indicators and other basic metrics to measure the success of the program haven't been set yet. 

"This certainly gives me pause, and I'd like to better understand the program's anticipated outcomes before voting," Kelly, the lone Republican on the council, wrote on the board. "We owe it to the community to consider all aspects of the process before voting." 

The cityscape of Austin, Texas.

The cityscape of Austin, Texas. (iStock )

Three other council members – Ann Kitchen, Leslie Pool, and José "Chito" Vela – also supported the postponement. 


If approved, Austin would partner with the non-profit UpTogether to dole out $1.18 million in taxpayer funds to 85 Austin households in $1,000 monthly increments with no strings attached. 

Many of the questions that council members posed about the plan had to do with who would qualify and how the trial run would be evaluated once a year is up. 

"The details of the selection criteria, expected outcomes and performance measures for this pilot will need to be worked out with our vendor after the contract is approved," staffers wrote in response to a question by Council Member Pool, who supported the postponement. 

Austin would join several other cities that have implemented guaranteed basic income plans. 

Austin would join several other cities that have implemented guaranteed basic income plans.  (iStock)


The city council will hold an executive session on the proposal in the next couple of weeks and return for a vote next month. 

Austin would join dozens of other cities around the United States that have rolled out guaranteed basic income programs in recent years, including New Orleans, Oakland, Gainesville, Chicago, and Los Angeles.