This is a project that began to take shape in Corsica. Since a few weeks, the folder, carried by the nationalists at the controls of the region, is now on the table of the government with the goal to enter in an operational phase. The will of the elected island : to make the island a land of experimentation for the universal income. A report devoted to this project has already been approved by the Corsican Assembly, at the initiative of its president, the independence of Jean-Guy Talamoni. Objective : establish a basic income for the whole population of the island, about 335 000 inhabitants. "The Corsican is in a situation of social emergency, exacerbated by the economic crisis linked to the sars coronavirus," says the nationalist leader. In this difficult context, this device should be a safety net, a first step to not leave anyone at the edge of the path, and begin the reshaping of the world after that. "
It is necessary to say that the social reality induced by the pandemic finds a particular echo in the island. In Corsica, 20.5 percent of the population lives below the poverty line with less than 970 euros per month, and revenues are among the lowest of the Hexagon. A sad panorama which makes the region the most precarious of metropolitan France. If this project has been accelerated due to the crisis of the sars coronavirus, the approach is still more ancient. The reflection was initiated by the regional assembly through the creation, in January, 2017, an ad hoc committee to study the feasibility.
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An annual cost amounted to 129 million euros
For this mission, the community of Corsica is attached to the services of specialists. Among these, the economist Marc de Basquiat. President of the Association for the development of a subsistence income (Aire), the latter has been, in recent months, the linchpin of this reflection pioneer that aimed to develop a " technical solution adapted to the situation island ". Around the table : elected officials, tax experts, economists, as well as the managers of the funds and services that have to intervene in terms of social minima.
Their project is based, first, on the assumption of an income of 500 euros per month, awarded in the form of a payment or a tax credit, according to the conditions of resources.
However, the report of the Corsican Assembly recognizes that this amount will still be " insufficient to ensure a decent life and cope with social exclusion ". Ultimately, the goal is to achieve a level of income close to the poverty threshold, or about 1,000 euros per month. For this, the work of this committee advocate " to develop the mechanism of deduction at source introduced in early 2019, to replace it by the monthly calculation by the tax administration, a redistribution universal combining a transfer, of the order of 500 euros, and a levy on all income, at a rate to be adjust from 30 to 35 % ".
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According to the projections, this device would cost each year to 129 million euros to the French island of Corsica. The commission has devised the principle of a tax mechanism which would replace the social security benefits such as the RSA and the premium of activity. "By its automaticity and its unconditional nature, this income would solve the problem of access to social assistance and roll back aspects sometimes stigmatizing for the people who benefit from them, argues Jean-Guy Talamoni. It would simplify the work of the administration, who could then devote himself to the management of social difficulties specific in order to mitigate the effects of a society that is increasingly unequal. "
"No premium to idleness"
in the Face of detractors who point to the "logic of assistantship and exorbitant costs', the independence leader defends himself of any " premium to idleness ". The president of the Corsican Assembly considers that these reservations will no longer be at the time of the emergency Covid. "The crisis has revealed the weaknesses of the current system and has shown that income security had become a social imperative and an economic imperative, considers Jean-Guy Talamoni. In this context, it is up to policy makers to trace the path of a new model of society, and this system must be part of the instruments of the New Deal civilization that we call our vows. "
To be able to be implemented, the project of the nationalist is currently the subject of a request for adaptation of the texts applicable to the government. In the meantime, if the Corse has taken the lead on the subject, the case of the island is far from an exception. In recent months, the idea of a universal income has resurfaced in Europe ahead of the grim prospects of the health crisis that is shaking the planet. In the Face of the emergency economic and social, several countries are exploring this avenue, including Germany, Finland, the United Kingdom or Spain. In France, some sixty parliamentarians support the principle of a basic income. An idea that had been one of the proposals the flagship of the socialist candidate, Benoît Hamon, during the presidential election of 2017.