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Should Government Have a Hand in Private Sector Retirement?

State House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz is working with other legislators to seek better options for private sector workers.

Credit: Patch.
Credit: Patch.

The American Dream has changed and with a struggling economy, residents throughout Connecticut are working harder and later in to their lives before being able to seek retirement.

House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin & Southington, and Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney hosted an inaugural meeting of the Majority Leaders’ Retirement Security Round table Monday at the State Capitol in Hartford.

Aresimowicz and Looney said they convened the roundtable to discuss establishing a state-administered retirement savings plan for private sector workers. The roundtable also included public officials and retirement experts.

“My parents’ and grandparents’ generation knew if they worked hard and played by the rules that they would be able to retire comfortably and with dignity—that was part of the American Dream. Unfortunately with less and less employers offering retirement plans this has become increasingly difficult and near impossible for too many people,” he said.

“Right now only about half of all Connecticut workers have access to retirement plans through their employer, it’s critical that the state look at options to ensure that all of Connecticut’s residents are able to retire with dignity.”

Katie Bahn, an economist with the New School for Social Research went over the findings from a 2012 report, Are Connecticut Workers Ready for Retirement, with the roundtable.

The report prepared by the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School documents a downward trend in employer sponsorship of retirement plans and employee participation rates in Connecticut from 1998 to 2012, making it increasingly difficult for workers to prepare for retirement.

The Majority Leaders’ Retirement Security Roundtable will next meet Monday, November 18th at 12:00 p.m. in the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

The group will review legislation introduced by Looney last year which would have permitted workers without access to retirement plans at work to contribute part of their salary into a portable retirement savings trust fund that workers could have taken from job to job. The trust fund would have had a not-for-profit structure and been administered through the state treasurer, but all of the administrative costs would have been paid by the plan’s participants, not the taxpayers.

“As our citizens approach retirement far too many of them rely solely on Social Security as retirement income,” Looney said.

“In truth, while Social Security has lifted many senior citizens out of abject poverty, it does not in fact provide a decent living for those with no other source of retirement income—forcing seniors to continue working long after they’d like to be retired. As baby boomers reach retirement age, we must examine this issue.”

The preceding was written based on press releases and emails.

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Ollie Qween October 30, 2013 at 09:02 AM
For the love of God, please keep the government out of my retirement, please. It is bad enough they are taxing us through the ears, now they want to "help us" - there's got to be a catch...with the government, there always is.

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