HomeUSBaltimore voters to weigh ‘baby bonus’ of $1,000 to new parents

Baltimore voters to weigh ‘baby bonus’ of $1,000 to new parents

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CNA Newsroom, Jul 3, 2024 / 16:27 pm (CNA).

Voters in Baltimore will decide this fall whether to approve a $1,000 bonus that parents would receive upon the birth or adoption of a child.

Led by the Maryland Child Alliance (MCA), a volunteer organization mainly composed of teachers, the measure garnered roughly 13,000 signatures and received approval Monday from the Baltimore City Board of Elections to appear on the November ballot. 

If approved, the measure would create a fund that would issue one-time $1,000 payments to parents regardless of their income level, costing the city at least $7 million annually. The Maryland Child Alliance says on its website that “the funding for the Baltimore Baby Bonus will come from the city’s general budget, which is $4.3 billion for 2024.”  

The group says its push for the bonus program is driven by evidence that mitigating the significant financial costs of bringing home and caring for a newborn can lead to greater success for children and adults in the long run. 

“The aim is to improve the well-being of children and families, while also having long-term benefits for the economy as a whole,” the group says on its website.

“By voting YES on the upcoming November ballot, you can help improve the well-being of children and families in our community while also contributing to long-term economic benefits.”

The plan is reminiscent of countries around the world that offer various bonuses, whether in the form of cash or supplies, to new parents in order to help them raise their children and, in many cases, as an attempt to buoy low birth rates. 

“Families can’t afford the things that they need, and you’re left with this terrible recipe where that could impact a kid forever,” Nate Golden, president of the Maryland Child Alliance, told the Baltimore Sun

“We want all kids lifted out of poverty, but where do you get the most bang for your buck? It’s with babies and newborns.”

City ballot measures almost always pass, the Baltimore Sun reported; voters in Baltimore haven’t rejected a ballot question since 2004. Election Day is Nov. 5. 

Maryland as a whole is one of several states that will vote on a measure to expand abortion this fall.

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