CHICAGO — A government guaranteed minimum income for all is the dream of those behind the Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) Conference, and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson addressed the annual gathering Friday.

The two-day conference is being held in Chicago and marks the 21st time these like-minded individuals have come together. According to the conference website:

“The event has grown over recent years to become the annual national conference for the basic income movement, bringing together grassroots activists, policy wonks, artists, pilot administrators, social and economic justice organizations, think tanks, researchers, community-based nonprofits and more. The goal of the conference is threefold: 1) to take stock of the current state of the movement 2) to inspire, conspire and collaborate on efforts for the upcoming year; and 3) provide a space to build strong relationships for coordinated, highly collaborative work.”

Johnson has some history with the idea of guaranteed income. As a Cook County Commissioner he supported a $42 million pilot program currently underway. He also recently discussed how he’d like to use Chicago’s own guaranteed income pilot program.

See his full conference remarks in the video above.

The U.S. BIG website explains the most common guaranteed basic income plans:

“Most basic income plans fall into one of two categories: the Basic Income and the Negative Income Tax. 

The Basic Income gives every citizen a check for the full basic income every month, and taxes his or her earned income, so that nearly everyone both pays taxes and receives a basic income. Those with low incomes receive more in basic income than they pay in taxes and those with relatively high income pay more than they receive.

The Negative Income Tax pays the full benefit only to those with no private income and phases out the benefit as people earn more private income, but private income is not taxed until the negative income tax is fully phased out.

Thus, the Negative Income Tax avoids giving people checks and asking them to send checks back, but the Basic Income gives people the assurance that their check will be there every month if they have a sudden loss of income.”