Business Report: Consumer sentiment rises, push for ‘baby bonds,’ American Dream mall

Sen. Cory Booker has reintroduced legislation for 'baby bonds'

A closely watched report on consumer sentiment Friday hit its highest level in a year. Confidence is growing as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to researchers at the University of Michigan, which produced the survey. They also cited anticipation of the new federal stimulus payments. Meantime, a local banking executive says confidence is also increasing among New Jersey’s business leaders.

Now that work on the federal COVID-19 relief bill is done, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) is hopeful his so-called baby bonds bill will get some traction. Booker has reintroduced his legislation in the new Congress. The bill would create a federally funded savings account for every child born in the U.S., with annual deposit amounts based on household income. Booker says that would help to narrow the racial wealth gap. The bill now has 15 co-sponsors in the Senate, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

New Jersey’s plans to increase indoor capacity limits next week may come a bit too late for the owners of the American Dream mall. The shopping complex’s developer, Triple Five, may end up losing its 49% stake in its Minnesota-based Mall of America property, because it put that up as collateral to secure financing for American Dream. NJ Advance Media says a Triple Five executive recently raised that possibility at a public meeting, citing a significant cash flow crisis.

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