Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is proposing a guaranteed basic income pilot program in his upcoming budget, putting L.A. front and center in the debate over how government can most effectively combat poverty and spur equitable economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The $24 million program would be the largest experiment of its kind in the United States.

Under the proposal, dubbed “BIG: LEAP” (Basic Income Guaranteed: L.A. Economic Assistance Pilot), 2,000 Angeleno families at or below the federal poverty line would receive $1,000 a month for one year, no strings attached. “We have to end America’s addiction to poverty,” Garcetti said in an exclusive interview with LAist. “For families who can’t think past the next bill, the next shift or the next health problem that they have, we can give them the space to not only dream of a better life, but to actualize it.”

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