The street crosswalk is painted in rainbow colors as seen on March 7, 2022 in Palm Springs, California. Palm Springs is a city of nearly 50,000 that has become a major tourist destination for the LGBTQ community as well as a relaxed environment for older retirees. George Rose/Getty Images
Former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, a Republican who was the first openly gay member of the city council, called the program “outrageous and discriminatory”.
“We are totally opposed to guaranteed or universal basic income programs because they ultimately cause inflation and increase the cost of living for everyone – they don’t work,” DeMaio said in a statement.
“But at least some of them have minimum income requirements to be eligible, whereas this one is an unconditional ‘awake’ virtue that signals to the LGBT community in a way that is not only offensive but discriminatory,” a he continued.
Video: Stockton, California, is testing basic income in 2018
Twenty transgender and non-binary residents of Palm Springs will receive the taxpayer-funded free money for 18 months, with advocacy-based health center DAP Health and LGBT advocacy group Queer Works running the program.
A six-month design period will be the precursor to program implementation, in which the Mayors for Guaranteed Income group will be involved in the orientation.
DAP Health CEO David Brinkman told reporters that the transgender population is “one of the most marginalized populations in our city who face some of the highest levels of housing insecurity, unemployment and discrimination”.
Queer Works CEO Jacob Rostowsky also said in a press release that transgender and non-binary people “are highly marginalized in our society at large, especially economically,” and said the City of Palm Springs should match all public funds.
“Our project budget is estimated at around $1.8 million,” Rostowsky said. “And so, when we look at what other [programs] who have been successfully funded have done so, their local towns have provided almost a match for that funding.”
Palm Springs Mayor Lisa Middleton, who is transgender, pointed to the transcript of the March 24 city council meeting where she “expressed strong reservations generally about guaranteed income programs.”
“I specifically stated that I did not believe such programs could expand to adequately address the more than 37 million Americans living below the poverty line, the more than 6 million Californians, or the most of 400,000 in Riverside County living below the poverty line. [line]”Middleton said in an email, praising Brinkman for his work and expressing his “concern for the financial vulnerability of the transgender community.”
“Transgender Americans suffer from extremely high rates of underemployment and unemployment. Transgender Americans face tremendous challenges in living full and authentic lives,” the mayor said. “These challenges have increased dramatically in recent years as transgender children and their families have been targeted by extremist lawmakers and governors.”
Middleton added that she believes a UBI program is a “county, state and federal responsibility,” not a “municipality.”
“My vote to affirm the evening was procedural to provide $200,000 to DAP to assist them in applying for state funding. Prior to the vote, I specifically stated my belief that guaranteed income programs do not were not the long-term way to go. I have not committed to any future funding of guaranteed income programs.”
Other members of the Palm Springs City Council did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Fox News’ Jordan Early contributed to this report.