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Unfortunately, the age-old idea of Universal Basic Income has started to take root in Iowa. It is in our best interest to protect our work ethic and stop it. The Senate committee I chair advanced HF 2319 this week to prevent local governments from implementing these programs.

This idea has been around for centuries. Respected historical names such as Thomas More and Thomas Paine endorsed the idea when only the nobility could vote or own land beyond subsistence farming. Respected modern economist Milton Friedman supported basic income, saying that it was more efficient than the welfare bureaucracy, but that you can’t have both. Our country has selected the government programs, but the thought is interesting. And in the 1900s, the ultimate Basic Income system was Communism. This experiment failed with 100 million deaths attributed to it attempting to redistribute wealth.

Meanwhile, in central Iowa, we have a collection of urban cities and counties working to prove that dependence. Polk, Warren, and Dallas counties and some cities are participating in an Iowa pilot program called UpLift, the Central Iowa Basic Income Pilot, that provides $500 payments to individuals with a household income at or below 60% of the area median income for a period of 24 months. This program is set to end April 2025.

The object of the project is to establish the productive outcomes of giving families other people’s money without work requirements or limits on what the $500/month could be spent. It is a combination of private corporate money, one-time federal Covid funds, and property tax dollars.

House File 2319 has been passed by the House and the Senate State Government Committee. It bans redistribution schemes like this in Iowa. We have already seen how redistributing wealth works out in America during Covid. Trillions of tax dollars were sent out to make up for the Covid over-reaction as governments at all levels tried to shut down the movement and business of Americans. We are now experiencing the inflation that accompanies the artificial injection of dollars into the economy, and it makes us all poorer, especially the working families who are hurt the most by inflation and rising interest rates used to combat inflation.

The Covid-era basic income efforts, along with greatly expanded unemployment benefits, are directly related to people stepping back from the workforce and creating shortages that are still being felt. Iowa was about the first state to leave the errors of Covid behind, and we became a success story in America. Our actions were the opposite of a socialist program of redistributing wealth. HF 2319 corrects the errant policies being tried but leaves both corporate and private charity untouched. If a successful corporation decides to fund a program such as this, they have every right to do so. But recent attempts in Iowa are working to build an argument that after one-time federal funds dry up, your property taxes would be the local funding source to pay people without work requirements to buy anything they want.

For those still interested in seeing how Universal Basic Income programs could work, let’s hold off on the handouts for a bit and watch Minnesota. As I write this, the Minnesota House is moving a $100 million UBI plan for the whole state that would include even illegal aliens. The Senate has a matching bill with five Democrat sponsors. A quick online search reveals about 80 similar projects across our country. You would think project supporters would want a secure southern border, so these open jobs are not filled by illegal workers, but the project sponsors typically support open borders and then advocate handing out other people’s money to Americans to keep them above water. It doesn’t make sense to me, but it’s the platform of a recognized political party in America, so there must be at least several people who agree with this illogical premise.

Meanwhile, Iowa has 58,000 open jobs listed, with 13,000 jobs in central Iowa where this project is happening. There are a lot of opportunities in our state, and that gives me great comfort. We still have a majority of citizens who go to work, get their kids ready for school, go to church, and expect to be left alone when they get their paycheck. If charity is needed, they give at church or to a recognized organization. They don’t need their local officials to donate citizens’ money in their name in order to feel virtuous.

Author: Jason Schultz

State Sen. Jason Schultz served three terms in the House prior to being elected to the Iowa Senate. Schultz served seven years in the National Guard and served as volunteer fire fighter for the Schleswig Volunteer FD for 13 years, two years as the department's chief.


  1. Where did you get the information that Dallas County participates in this? I asked the County Board of Supervisors and they said they had never been approached to participate in this and if they were they would decline.

  2. I looked it up. Thank you Jacob. Tom and Ruth Harkin. Figures.. It’s just to incentivize people to accept CBSC’s. Which the legislators haven’t done anything about that, either.


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