JEFFERSON CITY -- Missouri's first son made his first public appearance Wednesday, as Gov. Matt Blunt and First Lady Melanie Blunt opened a Missouri Savings for Tuition account for sixth month-old Branch Blunt.
Clad in a baby sailor suit, Branch was on his best behavior as State Treasurer Sarah Steelmen and 17 lawmakers joined the first family to promote the state college tuition savings program.
Speaking to about 40 elementary students and a handful of parents, Blunt and Steelman encouraged Missouri families to use the program for tax-deductible savings toward higher education. Blunt declared September College Savings Month.
Students in attendance wore paper graduation hats hand-lettered with messages like "save now for college." They were encouraged to visit a table decorated with pencils, animal stencils, bookmarks, and applications for the Missouri Savings for Tuition program. After addressing the group, the governor carried Branch from the Capitol steps to mingle with the kids on the lawn.
Missouri Savings for Tuition accounts cost $25 to open, and allow tax-deductible deposits up to $8,000 each year.
Money withdrawn to pay for eligible higher education costs -- which include accredited college and graduate school tuition, trade schools, books, and some room and board fees -- is state and federal tax free.