(WTNH) — July 1 ushered in a host of new laws, one of them involves a financial investment for babies born in poverty. Connecticut’s Treasurer hopes this first in the nation program will become a national example.
A bill that attempts to close economic disparities. Its beneficiaries: babies born today and beyond that are on the state’s Medicaid program known as Husky.
The first of its kind in the nation and the passion project of State Treasurer Shawn Wooden, who grew up in Hartford’s impoverished North End.
“We must think long term if we’re going to be serious about structural change. Deep change, reform that’s real and lasting,” said State Treasurer Shawn Wooden.
It’s touted as a step to correct disparities. At birth, money will be put into a trust. Beneficiaries can use it to cover education, home ownership, starting a business, or retirement in Connecticut.
“The reason it had bi-partisan support; poverty doesn’t know a zip code. Poverty exists across the state,” said Matt Ritter, (D) House Speaker.
The state will invest $50 million in bonds each year for 12 years. Wooden hopes it becomes a national standard.
U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Cory Booker are among those sponsoring a similar measure in the U.S. Senate known as the American opportunity accounts act.
“You want to go on a vacation? No. You want to buy a car? No. The only way you can touch this money is when you reach the age of 18 and you want to start a business, go to school, or buy a home,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D)
The baby girl growing inside this expectant mom from Rocky Hill will be a beneficiary.
“It feels good. It takes a lot of weight off my shoulders. I started a savings account and I only have about $50 there,” said Talisha Tirado, an expectant mom from Rocky Hill.
Connecticut is the only state in the U.S. to pass a Baby Bonds program.
The Black and Puerto Rican Caucus issued a written statement in response to this bill:
We are extremely pleased that the Baby Bonds bill has become law. We are very excited to see how many of those in poverty will reap the benefits of this very important piece of legislation. This is a small step in closing the generational education and wealth gaps that have blocked so many from accessing equity and the American Dream”