PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - A California city is planning to give universal basic income (UBI) to transgender and nonbinary residents regardless of their earnings level.
The new pilot program will have $200,000 set aside for allocation after a unanimous vote by the Palm Springs City Council last week.
Former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, a Republican who served as the first openly gay member of the city council, called the program "outrageous and discriminatory."
"We're completely opposed to guaranteed or universal basic income programs, because they ultimately cause inflation and raise the cost of living on everyone — they don't work," DeMaio said in a statement.
"But at least some of them have minimum income requirements to qualify, whereas this one is no-strings-attached 'woke' virtue signaling to the LGBT community in a way that is not only offensive but discriminatory," he continued.
Twenty transgender and nonbinary Palm Springs residents will receive the free money funded by the taxpayers for 18 months, with advocacy-based health center DAP Health and LGBT advocacy group Queer Works managing the program.
A six-month design period will be the precursor of the program’s implementation, in which the group Mayors for a Guaranteed Income will be involved providing guidance.
DAP Health CEO David Brinkman claimed to reporters that the transgendered population is "one of the most marginalized populations in our city who face some of the highest levels of housing insecurity, joblessness and discrimination."
Queer Works CEO Jacob Rostowsky also claimed in a press release that transgender and nonbinary people "are highly marginalized in our society in general, especially economically," and told the Desert Sun that the city of Palm Springs would have to match any state funds.
"Our project's budget is estimated at about $1.8 million," Rostowsky said. "And so when we look at what other [programs] that have been successfully funded have done, their local cities have provided nearly a match to that funding."
Palm Springs Mayor Lisa Middleton, who is transgender, pointed to the transcript from the city council's March 24 meeting where she "expressed strong reservations in general to guaranteed income programs."
"I specifically stated that I did not believe such programs could scale up to adequately respond to the over 37 million Americans living below the poverty line, the over 6 million Californians or the over 400,000 in the County of Riverside living below the poverty [line]," Middleton said in an email, praising Brinkman for his work and expressing her "concern for the financial vulnerability of the transgender community."
"Transgender Americans suffer extremely high rates of under and unemployment. Transgender Americans face enormous challenges living full and authentic lives," the mayor said. "Those challenges have increased substantially in the past few years as transgender children and their families have been targeted by extremist legislators and governors."
Middleton added she believes a UBI program is a "county, state and federal responsibility," not a "municipal" one.
"My vote to affirm that evening was procedural to provide $200,000 to DAP in order to help them in the application for state funding. In advance of the vote I specifically stated my belief that guaranteed income programs were not the long-term way to proceed. I did not commit 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.
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Fox News' Jordan Early contributed to this report.