Interview: Hawaii becomes first state to study full basic income

Basic Income Earth Network

Chris Lee, a Democratic state representative from Hawaii, made international headlines when he passed legislation creating a working group to study Universal Basic Income.

Lee recently joined the UBI Podcast to discuss the legislation.

He said the working group will analyze Hawaii’s exposure to automation and the potential for solutions, such as basic income, to address this issue. The working group will also look at the efficacy of Hawaii’s current social services system and whether it is adequate for the challenges of the future.

“It’s safe to say, that if we do nothing…these programs that we are already spending money on are going to go through the roof. To say nothing of unemployment and other changes in the economy that is going to exacerbate income inequality and limit the opportunity for people to work and make a living,” Lee said.

There is no end-date to the working group, and Lee said the key players will likely be organized by the end of this summer. Lee said he hopes that by the next legislative session in January the working group will have produced enough research to push for funding for deeper research into evaluating various proposals.

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