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Popular initiative for an unconditional basic income stopped

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In Hamburg, a planned referendum on a pilot project for an unconditional basic income has been stopped by a court. The Hamburg Constitutional Court on Wednesday, following a motion by the red-green Senate, prohibited the continuation of the people’s legislative process. The court found that the information provided by the initiators of the model project was partially contradictory, unclear and incomplete.

Voters could not adequately assess the advantages and disadvantages and also not have a complete overview of the consequences of the project. The aim of the referendum was to try out an unconditional basic income in Hamburg and to enable a scientific pilot project to research the effect, acceptance and feasibility of variants of the basic income. To this end, at least 2,000 people should receive a monthly income for three years unconditionally and without a means test. This should be so high that social benefits are no longer necessary. At least 1,000 adults should receive at least 1,120 euros, minors 560 euros per month. The total budget should be 40 million euros.

The initiators of the referendum “Hamburg should test basic income!” had collected the necessary signatures for a draft law in early 2020. However, the citizenship did not pass it, which is why the initiative applied for a referendum in September 2020. The Senate then appealed to the state constitutional court.

Initiative is considering a new attempt

The initiative is now considering launching a new popular initiative based on a revised draft law. After its defeat, the initiative emphasized that the court had expressly made it clear that a pilot project for an unconditional basic income fell within the competence of the state of Hamburg and was therefore in principle also permissible as the subject of a popular initiative (file no.: HVerfG 12/20).

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Editorial office beck-aktuell, July 12, 2023 (dpa).

Related Links

From the beck-online database

Ruland, The Unconditional Basic Income and the Digitization of Work, NZS 2021, 845

Heine/Trinks, Tax aspects of an unconditional basic income, DStR 2020, 2710

First long-term study in Germany on the effect of the unconditional basic income, FD-SozVR 2020, 431400

From the news archive

Scientific Advisory Board: Unconditional basic income not feasible, report by the beck-aktuell editorial team from September 15th, 2021, becklink 2020905

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