Hawaii considers adopting a basic income for all - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii considers adopting a basic income for all

(Image: Hawaii News Now/File) (Image: Hawaii News Now/File)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Last week, Hawaii made national headlines for becoming the first state to formally adopt key pledges in the Paris Climate Accord.

Now, the state is getting attention for taking a first step toward adopting a universal basic income. 

resolution passed in the last legislative session creates a working group to study the issue and determine whether it could implemented in the islands.

The resolution was introduced by state Rep. Chris Lee, who argues a universal basic income could help working families grappled with the state's high cost of living.

While the measure has helped spark a new conversation about UBI, the idea is not entirely new.

In fact, former U.S. President Richard Nixon was the first to suggest a UBI -- back in 1969. More recently, other countries have begun testing the system, including Finland and Germany with Canada soon following suit.

In its resolution, Hawaii lawmakers threw their support behind the notion of a basic income -- and say the working group was convend to explore how government entities in the islands could make it happen. 

If a UBI were put in place, every citizen, regardless of their social and economic status, would be granted a fixed, minimum income. The program, supporters say, would combat an increase in unemployment due to technological developments while also improving current social welfare plans.

However, critics suggest otherwise, fearing a UBI would discourage work and bloat government spending.

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