Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about the Baltimore Baby Bonus Fund:

For any other questions or inquiries, please contact our team for assistance.

1) Who is elligible to receive the payment?

This is a universal benefit accessible to any Baltimore City resident upon the birth or adoption of a child. Universal benefits remove administrative burdens that often prevent eligible families from receiving due benefits. Applying an income test would necessitate city-wide income tax data collection, which could exclude the poorest families who often do not file income taxes. These families are already missing out on numerous federal and state programs, and we cannot risk leaving them behind further.

4) How is it paid for?

Our Charter Amendment does not determine the funding structure. Instead, it mandates that the City Council must allocate a specific amount towards the fund. Our funding structure requires an appropriation equal to 0.03% of city property value, but it does not raise property taxes. Our funding structure is modeled exactly after the Children and Youth Fund, which passed as a Charter Amendment in 2016 and already has legal standing.

The funding for the Baltimore Baby Bonus will come from the city’s general budget, which is $4.3 billion for 2024.

6) How will the money be distributed?

Being a Charter Amendment, we can't detail the administrative specifics yet, but we are hopeful that the City Council will consider our guidance during implementation. We envision a simple process where parents can choose between a direct bank deposit, a check, or a prepaid debit card. We are committed to ensuring that payments reach the unbanked community.

2) Will this raise taxes?

No! Our amendment does not impact the tax code.

3) How much does it cost?

The Baltimore Baby Bonus program proposes a minimum payment of $1,000 per baby, which would cost about $7 million annually, or 0.16 percent of the city's budget. Given that the city budget typically increases by about $30 million annually, this program can be fully funded without reducing funding to other programs.

For 2025, the projected budget for the program is $15 million, or 0.36% of the city budget, which would allow for payments of approximately $2,000 per eligible recipient. The program is designed to be affordable and sustainable, with the fund's value linked to the city's property values to protect against inflation and rising costs. This ensures the long-term sustainability of the program without impacting property taxes or straining the city's financial resources.

This approach allows us to make a meaninful impact on families; lives while maintaining fiscal responsibility.

5) Who is behind this?

We are the Maryland Child Alliance, an advocacy organization fighting to reduce and eventually eliminate child poverty in the state of Maryland. We are a collection of teachers, business leaders, attorneys, medical professionals, and community members dedicated to improving the lives of Maryland children and families.

7) Is it retroactive?

Unfortunately, it is not. However, we at the Maryland Child Alliance are also engaged in state-level lobbying to advocate for the expansion of the state's Child Tax Credit. The current Child Tax Credit reaches a mere 1.5% of children.