‘We need to do everything and anything that we can’: Bill proposed in Montgomery Co. would give kids $1,800 at birth

EDITOR’S NOTE: This report has been updated to show the correct amount of funds Montgomery County is considering investing for every child under the proposed legislation. 

A so-called “baby bonds” bill is being considered in Montgomery County, in which $1,800 would be invested for every child born in the Maryland county.

The Child Investment Fund would be overseen by an 13-member committee, and the funds would be available for applicants once they reach age 18.

Those eligible to draw from the funds would have to meet a number of requirements including:

  • Being born after Jan. 1, 2024
  • Being residents of Montgomery County
  • Payments would be based on wealth and income at the time of application

The use of the funds would also be restricted to vocational or educational expenses, ownership or investment in a business in Montgomery County, the purchase of property in the county or funding retirement investments.

County Council members Will Jawando and Gabe Albornoz are the lead sponsors of the bill.

Albornoz said that the potential cost could be “somewhere north of $16 million.” That’s based on the approximately 30,000 births recorded in the county last year.

While a number of details have yet to be worked out, Albornoz said, “We believe we need to take big swings to address the growing wealth gap (faced by children and families).”

He added, “With the cost of college and with the challenges and cost of housing today, let alone 18 years from now, we need to do everything and anything that we can to prepare this next generation to succeed.”

In written testimony submitted before Tuesday night’s hearing, Gordon Brenne, with the Montgomery County Taxpayers League, raised concerns about administrative costs, determining eligibility and the sustainability of the program.

The League’s statement read in part, “The Taxpayers League supports efficient and effective government and is unable to develop a cost-benefit justification for this bill.”

Written testimony from the Montgomery County Food Council supports the bill, stating that the fund “provides real long-term economic opportunity coupled with sustained investment in our community.” They called the bill a “progressive approach that will help dismantle systemic barriers to wealth accumulation.”

The county council held a public hearing on the bill Tuesday night.

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Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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