PATERSON, NJ — Joined by legislators, faith leaders and others, Gov. Phil Murphy promoted on September 9 his "Baby Bonds" initiative, which would give $1,000 to about three of every four babies born in 2021.
The plan, which is part of Murphy's revised fiscal year 2021 budget, would set up an interest-bearing account for every child born into New Jersey household with income less than 500 percent of the federal poverty level — or about $131,000 for a family of four.
“While COVID-19 has had an enormous financial impact on many New Jersey families, it has laid bare systemic inequities that have disproportionately denied families of color an equal chance to achieve upward mobility,” Murphy said at a press conference in Paterson's Barbour Park. “To emerge from this crisis as a stronger, fairer, and more resilient state, we need to lay the foundation for the next generation of New Jerseyans to secure their spot in the middle class and break the cycle of economic inequality.”
Sen. Cory Booker, who has proposed a similar plan on the federal level, said, “We are seeing wealth inequality at its highest point in decades, which is severely limiting equal opportunity for many Americans. Every child should have an opportunity to build assets, create wealth and achieve upward mobility."
The proposal requires newborns to either be born in the state or be born to parents who are New Jersey residents in order to be eligible for an account. Baby Bond recipients would have to be New Jersey residents to withdraw funds from their accounts, although they would not be required to spend these funds in the state.
Republicans are not sold on the idea, including State Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, who met with Monmouth County Republicans on September 9 to mobilize against what he calls the "tax-and-spend programs of Gov. Murphy."
"Gov. Murphy’s budget includes a plan to gift $1,000 to every child born in New Jersey for one year. The governor must borrow $80 million to fund the 'free money giveaway plan,' ” Bramnick tweeted.
Under the governor’s initiative, the state would establish the Baby Bonds Initiative Fund to include individual accounts for eligible residents. Funds in each child’s account would be invested so that they generate returns that are at least equivalent to 30-year U.S. Treasury bonds. Recipients would be able to withdraw funds when they turn 18 for allowable uses that build wealth such as homeownership, higher and continuing education, or entrepreneurship.
Gov. Murphy reported on September 9 that New Jersey has 356 new positive cases, pushing the state's cumulative total to 194,990. He also announced seven new confirmed COVID-19 deaths for a total of 14,220 lives lost. Of the seven newly confirmed deaths, four occurred within the past five days.
Below is the video of Gov. Murphy's September 9 press conference: