Madison guaranteed income pilot offers initial findings

Last year, researchers partnered with the city of Madison on a pilot project to learn what would happen if select families got monthly payments of $500, according to a report from WMTV NBC-15. Now halfway complete, early project data is available.

The Madison Forward Fund has paid 155 randomly chosen low-income families since September 2022. The program released an interim report in January that showed how basic income payments were spent. Between September and November, participants spent most of their money on retail goods and services. Food and groceries, as well as transportation, closely followed.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway said researchers are preparing for a second survey to look at how the payments impact lives.

The experimental program runs through partnerships among the mayor’s office and several other groups, including the nationwide network Mayors for a Guaranteed Income and UW–Madison.

The $930,000 pilot has been running on non-taxpayer dollars, through private donors. In October, the city announced the program got about approximately 3,000 applications from eligible families.