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Treasurer Pieciak to Develop Vermont Baby Bonds Pilot Program

July 1, 2024

Montpelier, VT – On June 28, H.55 became law, authorizing Treasurer Pieciak to establish a Vermont Baby Bonds Trust Program and develop a pilot program. The pilot program will provide funds to a subset of young Vermonters born into poverty; their use limited to wealth-building activities like purchasing a home in Vermont, starting or investing in a local business, pursuing higher education or job training, and saving for retirement. The program will enable Treasurer Pieciak to evaluate the potential impact and operational needs of a fully funded statewide Baby Bonds program.  

“I’m thankful for the hard work and support of legislators, advocates, the business community, and the administration to move this historic policy forward, bringing Vermont one step closer to becoming the second state in the nation to implement a Baby Bonds program,” said Treasurer Pieciak. “Despite the opportunities of our state, we know Vermont’s economy does not work for everyone. Baby Bonds will ensure that Vermont children from the toughest economic circumstances can build wealth, accumulate assets, and shape their own financial future.” 

Baby Bonds aim to address intergenerational poverty, support rural economic development, and retain young people in Vermont. Treasurer Pieciak's initial statewide Baby Bonds proposal (H.769) aimed to invest $3,200 for every Vermont child born on Medicaid into a fund managed by the State Treasurer’s Office. Beneficiaries would have been able to access their baby bond between ages 18 and 30, with the initial $3,200 investment projected to grow to $11,500 by age 18 and $24,500 by age 30. As proposed in H.769, beneficiaries must be Vermont residents at the time of withdrawal to access the funds.  

Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale the Senate’s leading sponsor of H.769, emphasized the potential impact of a Baby Bonds program on helping address intergenerational poverty. 

“We often talk about reducing income inequality, but we have very few levers to pull to actually end generational poverty. The best tool we can use is baby bonds. Investing a small amount on behalf of low-income children and giving them multiple pathways out of poverty when they can make those decisions. It’s smart and compassionate policy, and I’m glad to see we’re on the same page about trying it here in Vermont,” said Sen. Ram Hinsdale 

Rep Dan Noyes, the House leading sponsor of H.769, said, "The successful establishment of the legislative framework that creates Baby Bonds gives us an opportunity to focus on the nuts and bolts of a program that will provide wealth building activities to Vermonters who have historically been left behind. This will ensure this program will have the outcomes that lift vermonters out of poverty. Members of the House and Senate Committees on Commerce and Economic Development, along with the Treasurer and his staff, invested countless hours getting this legislation over the finish line."

In 2023, Connecticut became the first state to implement a Baby Bonds program statewide. The policy was championed by Connecticut Treasurer Erick Russell. Since the program launched in July 2023, more than 13,000 children have been enrolled in Connecticut’s Baby Bonds program. 

Treasurer Russell said, “Connecticut’s first-in-the-nation baby bonds program is an unprecedented investment in the future of our state — an investment directly in people. Since its launch last year, we’ve seen the promise of future economic and community benefits is being matched with an immediate spark of hope and optimism, giving residents an opportunity to envision a more inclusive and prosperous future for themselves and their families, and inspiring a broad coalition to support these families along the way to maximize the program’s impact. I’m thrilled that children in Vermont will now have that same opportunity through this pilot program. Congratulations to Treasurer Pieciak and Vermont’s lawmakers for their relentless work in bringing this transformative vision closer to reality for their constituents, now and in the future.” 

Vermont joins a growing list of states, counties, and municipalities to consider implementing a Baby Bonds program, as governments seek to address America's wealth gap which more than doubled from 1989 to 2016 (Pew Research Center). A federal Baby Bonds proposal has also been introduced by Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Ayanna Pressley. The policy was first conceptualized by Darrick Hamilton, Ph.D., Henry Cohen Professor of Urban Policy and Economics at The New School and founding director of the Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy. 

Professor Hamilton said, “We often think of wealth as an outcome, but its true essence is functional – that is, what wealth can do for you. By providing finance at the critical age of young adulthood, Baby Bonds will help vulnerable individuals build a lifetime of economic security and help eliminate the transmission of economic advantage or disadvantage across generations, regardless of the race and family economic position in which an individual is born. Congratulations to Treasurer Pieciak, Sen. Ram Hinsdale, and Rep. Noyes for their persistence in moving this policy forward—a tool for individuals to escape the iterative confines of systemic asset poverty.” 

H.55 authorizes Treasurer Pieciak to seek funding for the pilot program from a variety of sources, including gifts, grants, and donations. The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) has committed $25,000 to the program. While the specifics are being finalized, Treasurer Pieciak hopes the pilot program will target young Vermonters in the Northeast Kingdom. 

“With nearly half of all children in the Northeast Kingdom born on Medicaid, a Baby Bonds program would disproportionately benefit Vermont’s rural communities and help rural Vermonters become more financially resilient,” said Treasurer Pieciak. “Our office looks forward to working with national and local stakeholders to move the program forward, which promises to create a more resilient, fair, and productive Vermont economy for all.”  

H.55 also tasks the Treasurer with evaluating potential long-term funding sources, developing a financial coaching requirement for beneficiaries, and devising additional strategies to encourage the program’s beneficiaries to stay in Vermont. A report will be submitted to the legislature on January 15, 2025. 

Learn more about the Vermont Baby Bonds proposal here. Entities and individuals interested in contributing to the Baby Bonds pilot program can contact