This past July was Baltimore’s most historic month in nearly a century, but it passed quietly without much fanfare.

In July 2021, families with children between the ages of zero and 18 began receiving advance, monthly child tax credit payments.

I asked a grocery store clerk what she would do with her extra money from the child tax credit. She said she planned to take her kids on a vacation.

And when I asked what she would do after that, she was in happy shock to learn that she would continue to get her $500 monthly at least for the next five months. She had no idea the money would keep coming!

In short, July 2021 represented the largest investment in low-income communities since the Social Security Act of 1935.

My husband and I are getting the advance payment too—reduced of course because of our incomes. And it matters to us differently since we typically owe taxes.

The incredible news is that so many low-income Baltimore families are getting the payment—families who were previously ineligible for the child tax credit because they earned too little to even owe taxes.

Now that the child tax credit is both refundable and paid in advance, low-income families are getting a life-changing $250 or $300 extra per month and per child. And if the Democratic congress has its way, those payments could extend through 2025. That would be a huge raise for the working poor!

In Baltimore, we must shift to valuing our working poor so that they continue to live in Baltimore City. That is the only way to make this incredible windfall work for the city.

Last year, I canvassed for the census in several working poor neighborhoods that were typically under counted. But I’m not aware of a single politician who is canvassing to ensure that non-filers and grandparents raising children are signed up to receive their child tax credit payments. Perhaps in response to this email or post, some will begin to ring the bell.

If elected, I will not only ring the bell (as I’m doing now), I will be prepared with a set of policies (as I am now) that value our working poor. Those policies will—

  1. Incentivize the working poor to remain in Baltimore;
  2. Support their transition to middle class; and
  3. Support the formation of more two-parent households so that low-income men rise with their families and don’t get left behind.