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$1,000 for new parents? Baltimore advocacy group petitions to put measure on ballot.

Baltimore advocacy group campaigns for $1,000 for new parents
Baltimore advocacy group campaigns for $1,000 for new parents 02:41

BALTIMORE - An advocacy group wants to give Baltimore City voters a voice in moving a campaign forward that would give a one-time, $1,000 cash infusion to new parents of Baltimore City.

 Maryland Child Alliance President Nate Golden said the goal of the proposal is to offer financial support to residents who birth or adopt a baby.

"The Baltimore Baby Bonus started as a campaign where we could go around state legislators, around city legislators and take our message directly to voters," Golden said. 

The advocacy group has canvassed for more than a year and said it has collected upwards of 13,000 signatures. 

At least 10,000 verified signatures are required by the Board of Elections to put the measure on the 2024 General Election ballot. 

The proposal encompasses any Baltimore City resident upon the birth of their baby or through child adoption.

The benefit would be universal to remove the burden that could wind up excluding families in need of help, according to campaign manager Emily Yu.

"To receive the payment, there is no income eligibility or restriction on what the funds will be spent on," Yu said.

 Volunteers behind the proposal said taxes would not be raised in order to fund the initiative.

Instead, the charter amendment would be funded by the city's general budget through city property values.

"Our funding structure requires an appropriation equal to 0.03% of city property value, but it does not raise property taxes," the campaign states.

"This is an incredibly low-cost program," Julia Ellis said. "With about 7,000 babies born in Baltimore every year, the total estimated cost for this program is only $7 million, which is less than one percent of our city's budget."

The Baltimore Baby Bonus Fund had a tent at a Juneteenth Celebration in Druid Hill Park Wednesday where residents signed the petition.

Some told WJZ that lending help from the start could help set families up for long-term success.

"Because of inflation of everything, apartments, food, and those are two of the major things, that any help they can get will be a plus," Marilyn Butler said.

If the proposal is put on the November ballot and passes, it would head to the city council to determine how the program would be implemented and when payments would start.

However, volunteers said, the measure would not be retroactive.

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