ND may look into giving every baby $5K to help ensure a 'fair start in life'

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A bill being discussed in the North Dakota Legislature would study how feasible it is to give every baby born in the state a nest egg to be used when they turn 18.

“The bill combines common sense with vision and helps everyone get a fair start in life,” one of the bill's sponsors, Sen. Oley Larsen, R-Minot, said, according to The Forum.

Senate Bill 2165 was originally written to require the state-owned Bank of North Dakota to create a $5,000 account for babies born after Jan. 1, 2017. The bank would manage that money until the child turned 18, and then they could use it to pay tuition at a state college, or pay for a business, home or farm loan.

All the unused money would go into the state's general fund, Forum notes.

The Senate approved the bill, with an amendment – to study the "desirability and feasibility" of this idea before implementing it and report back to the 2017 Legislature.

The House committee took no action on this measure Wednesday, and the full House will debate it later, The Associated Press reports.

The bill, as originally written, would cost about $50 million every year (based on 10,000 newborns per year), but Larsen says the $5,000 account could grow to $20,000 by the time the child turns 18 (based on a 7 percent return), Forum reports, and that money would go directly from the state bank to the college or lending institution, not into the pockets of the resident.

Larsen suggests using the state's Legacy Fund, which was approved by voters in 2010, to fund the accounts, reports note.

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