Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration had no immediate plans Wednesday to allocate bonding to stand up the long-stalled CT Baby Bonds program meant to assist children from low-income families when they turn 18.
The program, passed by the legislature in 2021, would set aside a bond for each infant born to a low-income household. The bond would be worth significantly more by the time the child turned 18 and could be used to make investments in their future.
The bill was championed by former state Treasurer Shawn Wooden, who declined to run for reelection. The legislature voted last year to delay the program’s implementation until this coming July.
However, according to a January report in the CTMirror, Lamont’s administration has worked behind the scenes to stall the program. As governor, Lamont controls the agenda of the State Bond Commission, which must allocate the bonds necessary to implement the initiative.
During a Wednesday briefing on the governor’s budget proposal, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Jeffrey Beckham said the administration had no proposals to allocate those bonds.
Asked about the baby bonds, Beckham reiterated Lamont’s objections to the program.
“The governor has stated a number of times that he doesn’t support that program,” Beckham said. “To operationalize that program you would need an appropriation to the Department of Social Services to stand up a rather considerable amount of staff to identify the infants who would be eligible under that program. That’s never been provided by the General Assembly. It doesn’t exist.”
Beckham said Lamont favored policies like investments in early childhood education and temporary family assistance among other things. He said the administration prioritized those policies in its budget proposal.
“Those are the kind of investments the governor wants to protect and use the limited amount of resources in our budget to deal with and does not support that [baby bonds] program,” Beckham said.
In an interview Wednesday, Sen. Marilyn Moore, D-Bridgeport, called the comments disappointing.
“I know it was delayed but I thought that with that delay it would happen,” she said.
Despite Wooden’s departure, Moore said she had not given up hope on the program and had discussed ideas for implementing it with current Treasurer, Erick Russell. Russell could not be immediately reached Wednesday for comment.