State Treasurer proposes bill to invest in children born into poverty in CT

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WATERBURY, CT (WFSB) -To address the wealth disparities in the state, a bill is being proposed to invest in kids born into poverty.

The Baby Bonds proposal would create a fund for these kids that can be used for investments like education or buying a home.

To make sure everyone has that chance, State Treasurer Shawn Wooden says his Baby Bonds proposal, House Bill 66-59, has to become a reality.

If passed, his office would invest $5,000 for each child born into poverty. Wooden defines that as those eligible for the state’s Husky Health program.

For a family of four, annual income is under $53,000 to qualify. 

When they turn 18, they can use the funds for one of four things: education, buying a home, investing in a business, or investing in retirement.

“None of these are, in the isolation, a silver bullet, but putting all these pieces together, we can, we really have an opportunity to move the needle for our state,” Wooden said.

Wooden visited the Neighborhood Housing Services of Waterbury on Monday to explain the program. They educate and counsel their clients on homeownership, which made them happy to hear Baby Bond beneficiaries have to demonstrate financial literacy to use the funds.

“This is just another way of building assets for our youth as they move forward, building that generational wealth that so many Americans, other than Black and Brown people, were able to benefit from,” said Kevin Taylor, Executive Director of NHS Waterbury.

All investments from Baby Bond funds has to stay in the state, which is music to Tommy Hyde’s ears. He’s the CEO of the Naugatuck Valley Regional Development Corporation.

“The more we can encourage kids to get into the workforce and become educated. It’s going to make Connecticut a more attractive place for, whether that’s a manufacturer, financial services firm, insurance company, we need more of it,” Hyde said.

Wooden says the Appropriations Committee will be voting on this proposal this week. He hopes Governor Ned Lamont will sign it into law by the end of the legislative session in June.