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Mayor Michael Tubbs of Stockton, California in his office in February. (Photo by NICK OTTO/AFP via Getty Images)

The news this week that Jack Dorsey of Twitter donated an additional $15 million to a group of 29 mayors who want to pilot guaranteed monthly income programs in their cities cast a spotlight on Michael Tubbs, the 30-year-old mayor of Stockton, California, who founded Mayors for a Guaranteed Income in June.

The big picture: Tubbs, who grew up in poverty and graduated from Stanford, created the first municipal program to provide a guaranteed stipend in February 2019, giving 125 households in Stockton $500 a month.

  • The effort was funded by the Economic Security Project, a brainchild of Chris Hughes of Facebook.
  • Tubbs was endorsed by former President Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey in his 2017 mayoral run, and he's close with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang (of universal basic income fame).

What he's saying: "Mayors for a Guaranteed Income came about as a response to COVID-19 and also a response to the protest the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer," Tubbs tells Axios.

  • "People weren't just protesting police brutality — they were protesting the violence of poverty and the violence of lack of opportunity."
  • Tubbs approached his fellow mayors in the spring saying, "Look, this is an opportunity for us to go big for our constituents — to say that they deserve an income floor — and to push our country forward."

In the Stockton pilot — now nearly two years old — "We found our folks spent money on food and utilities and rent and things of that sort, and not on frivolous expenses," Tubbs said. "We've also found that people are healthier" because they have less stress.

What's next: The latest grant from Dorsey (who gave Tubbs' group $3 million in July), will fund guaranteed income pilots in a growing roster of cities, like Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh.

What to watch: Tubbs himself was defeated in November and is making plans for when he leaves office in January.

  • "I have no idea what my title will be in the traditional sense, but I know I will be advocating for everyone in this country to be treated with basic human dignity," he says.

Go deeper: Twitter's Dorsey gives $15 million for guaranteed income projects in U.S. cities

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Dec 10, 2020 - Health

Health disparities are worse in the U.S.

Data: Doty, et al., 2020, "Income-Related Inequality In Affordability And Access To Primary Care In Eleven High Income Countries"; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Socioeconomic disparities in health care are significantly worse in the U.S. than in other wealthy countries, according to a new study by the Commonwealth Fund, published in Health Affairs.

Why it matters: Wealthy Americans have long had better access to care — and therefore better outcomes — than poor Americans. And the coronavirus' disproportionate impact on low-income Americans and people of color has made those disparities glaringly obvious.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
5 mins ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.

Mike Allen, author of AM
37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden-Harris, Day 1: What mattered most

President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden arrive at the North Portico of the White House. Photo: Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

The Axios experts help you sort significance from symbolism. Here are the six Day 1 actions by President Biden that matter most.

Driving the news: Today, on his first full day, Biden translates his promise of a stronger federal response to the pandemic into action — starting with 10 executive orders and other directives, Caitlin Owens writes.