Universal Basic Income (UBI)
The Finnish Social Insurance Institution is now working on a proposal for a universal state-facilitated payment for every Finnish citizen. If fully implemented, this would provide every citizen with a monthly tax free payment of €800($1218 USD) and replace existing social benefits from the Finnish welfare system. Only income earned over the basic income will then be taxable. The proposal also included a trial period where only €550 euros will be provided, without impacting existing benefits such as housing and income subsidies. The basic income proposal will be submitted to the Finnish government in November 2016, and if approved a national trial is expected to follow.
Setting an Example
With unemployment rising steadily in Finland over the past decade, citizens have been clamoring for more innovative solutions. This led to big wins for pro-basic income parties in April’s parliamentary elections, with the Centre Party winning 21% of the vote, the Green League winning 8% and the Left Alliance winning 7%. Universal basic income even has support from the nationalist True Finns party, garnering a 57% approval rate. Basic income is seen as a means to provide more stability in citizens’ lives, allowing them to more freely pursue more creative, entrepreneurial, and humanitarian endeavors. With UBI Finland’s progressive policymakers are taking a very bold step that, if successful, could set an example for the rest of the world.