DENVER — Every newborn baby born in Colorado in 2020 and beyond could soon be entitled to $100 from the state.
That’s because state lawmakers gave final approval to HB 1280 on Monday, which allows parents of newborns beginning in 2020 to set up a college savings account with a $100 contribution from Colorado. The contribution will be tax-free.
“We are kick-starting their dreams,” said Rep. Leslie Herod (D-Denver), a sponsor of the bill in the House. “What we found is that when a young person has $100 and $500 in their savings account, they are much more likely to go to college.”
With about 66,000 babies born in Colorado each year, one major question is: Where will the money come from? It will not come from taxpayers or the General Fund.
Instead, College Invest, the nonprofit that runs Colorado’s 529 savings accounts, has committed to raising the money privately and through grants. It’s estimated to cost $3 million annually.
“College Invest raises the money,” Herod said.
Before final passage, Republicans on the Senate floor cautioned voting for this bill out of concerns the money might not be raised.
“There is that word again: ‘Unfunded liability.’ I would urge a no vote on this and leave it up to the parents,” Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Weld) said.
Sen. Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) questioned whether birth records are being protected.
“In this age of privacy, I don’t know if we want all the birth certificates going to the Department of Education,” Hill said.
Regardless of the GOP concerns, the bill is now en route to the Gov. Polis’ desk, where he is expected to sign the legislation.