Republican lawmakers want to preemptively ban guaranteed basic income in South Dakota.

A South Dakota Senate bill would ban local governments from creating guaranteed income programs. A sponsor of the bill called guaranteed income programs a “one-way ticket to government dependency.”Low-income residents have seen relief from programs in Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, and Austin. 

South Dakota lawmakers are taking steps to ban guaranteed basic income programs preemptively.

Guaranteed basic income gives qualifying residents monthly no-strings cash payments — typically between $500 and $1,000 — to spend as they choose over a set period of time.

Guaranteed basic income programs have become increasingly popular among state and local governments as a solution to widespread housing and food insecurity. Recent pilot programs have been successful in many US cities, including Boston, Denver, Durham, Minneapolis, and Austin. Recipients reported using the money to pay rent and utilities, buy groceries, drop second jobs, pay off credit card debt, and support their children’s education funds.

While there are no guaranteed basic income programs at the state level in South Dakota, the new bill would prevent all counties, townships, and municipalities from creating local programs in the future.

The bill passed on an 8-1 party-line vote in the Senate committee on February 5, and will move on to the state Senate for future consideration. The Senate has not specified when it will revisit the bill.

Lawmakers oppose the high costs of guaranteed income programs

While some well-performing pilot programs have received funding extensions — aiming to meet the needs of low-income families along with new and expecting mothers — the concept of guaranteed basic income has been unpopular in state legislatures.

Some critics of guaranteed basic income say the programs do not expand the labor force and put an undue burden on taxpayers and government funds.

Texas State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, a Republican, called a new Houston-based income program unconstitutional last month, saying that providing some residents $500 a month was handing out “money like popcorn.”

Republican lawmakers in Iowa are also trying to block a proposed guaranteed basic income program.

The South Dakota bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. John Wiik, said basic income programs redistribute people’s hard-earned money and are a “socialist idea.”

“Guaranteed income programs, also known as basic income, undercut the dignity in earning a dollar and they’re a one-way ticket to government dependency,” Wiik said at Monday’s Senate committee meeting.

Have you benefited from a guaranteed basic income program in your city or state? Would you be willing to share your experience? Contact this reporter at allisonkelly@insider.com.

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