Labor and Public Employees Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-249

Title:

AN ACT PROMOTING RETIREMENT SAVINGS.

Vote Date:

3/18/2014

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

3/11/2014

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Labor and Public Employees Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

To ensure that those citizens of Connecticut from the private sector will have enough money to retire comfortably.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Senator Martin M. Looney testified in support of the bill. Many citizens rely solely on Social Security and this does not provide a decent living. The plan would be similar to the California Retirement Investment Savings Plan. Under this proposal employees would be able to contribute via payroll deductions with a guaranteed return.

Senator Donald E. Williams supports the bill. Connecticut would be the second state in the nation to offer affordable individual retirement savings options to the private sector. The bill will help future retirees keep move of their retirement savings and aid small and medium sized business compete with lower- cost retirement plans provided by larger companies.

Representative Joe Aresimowicz testified in support of the bill. Our state is currently on the brink of a retirement crisis. Today's average benefit is just $15,228 per year and that is not enough alone to meet all of their daily living needs.

Denise L. Nappier, Treasurer, State of Connecticut supports the bill. The bill will establish a pathway for workers to accrue assets for their retirement. Retirement security is important for the well-being of our citizens and for the health of our State's economy. The bill presents an opportunity for Connecticut to be a catalyst for others by demonstrating that we can begin to address retirement issues in a meaningful way.

Kevin Lembo, Comptroller, State of Connecticut provided testimony on the bill. With the state's aging population rising it would be in the best interest of our state to pro-actively provide options to enable families to save for retirement. I encourage the development of a new retirement savings option that is secure, portable and efficient.

Sharon Palmer, Commissioner, Department of Labor spoke in favor of the concept of the bill. The bill provides an opportunity to low-income private sector workers to invest in a savings plan that good for all of Connecticut residents.

Teresa Younger, Executive Director, The Permanent Commission on the Status of Women supports the bill. Many women retire with insufficient income to sustain them during retirement. Social Security is the only source of income for one out of five older adults and the only source of income for 41% or older women in Connecticut.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Tom Swan, Executive Director, CT. Citizens Action Group strongly supports the bill. Private employers are stepping back from their compact with workers and their retirement security the state needs to provide a stable mechanism to help people plan for their long term financial security.

Stacey Zimmerman, SEIU supports the bill. The bill is a huge step forward in renewing the social contract that began with the implementation of Social Security. Through this bill Connecticut has the opportunity to set up a retirement plan that is secure and will follow your work and give you a piece of mind as residents age into retirement age.

Orzie Henderson submitted testimony in support of the bill. This bill could change the lives of so many men and women in this state. I am far away from my working years but this bill will give someone the opportunity, that I did not have, to step into their golden years on solid ground.

Brian Graff, American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries strongly supports the bill. ASPPA actively supports any proposal to expand retirement coverage. Competition on among private sector firms will result in better services for participants.

Win Heimer, Connecticut Alliance for Retired Americans testified in support of the bill. All our residents deserve to live out their retirement years in dignity and this bill can help assure that. CNN reports that Connecticut retirees face worse conditions for their golden years than retired workers in many other developed countries. The U.S ranks 19th in retirement security for the second year in a row. With this bill employers and workers can save for retirement with a low-risk plan whether they are in the public or private sector.

Dory Clay supports the bill. Having a low-cost accessible retirement savings plan would be a benefit for everyone across the state who is self-employed and a public retirement plan is a need option for every worker in Connecticut.

Janet DePrat supports the bill. Working tin the IT world I have had the luxury of a 401k but this bill will level the playing field. Someone who works for 30, 40 even 50 years should be able to enjoy the time that have left and not be hampered by thoughts of not having enough money to support themselves.

Marjorie Freeman testified in support of the bill. Having worked for 27 years for IBM and now retired Social Security does not cover my property taxes. I had a 401k and even stock options but that is just not enough. It is important that everyone have access to a secure retirement savings plan.

Matthew Brokman Council 4 AFSCME testified for the bill. Retirement is a three-legged stool: Social Security, Defined-Benefit Pension and Personal Savings. Most of our members are fortunate enough to have define-benefit plans but there are many others that do not have such a plan. This bill would help those that do not have such a plan.

Julie Winkel sent testimony supporting the bill. Most people have the stress of not knowing whether we will run out of money and not have enough to be able to retire comfortably.

Michael Bernardo supports the bill. I have just recently signed up for the employer offered 401k, but think that there is a better alternative and I think this plan is that better option.

National Association of Social Workers/Connecticut Chapter supports the bill. The concept of having a pension has changed over the years. Retiring on Social Security and savings is a recipe for financial disaster.

Mary Ann Pomanski supports the bill. I did not have access to a pension plan or retirement savings account on my job and now am not receiving a small disability payment and my social security and my husband and I are just getting by. This bill will help people like me who worked hard their whole lives save for retirement.

Melodie Perers President AFT Connecticut, AFL-CIO submitted testimony in support of the bill. This bill will provide an avenue to a secure retirement for Connecticut's workforce and will help the citizens of this state achieve a more secure future.

Ken Floryan spoke in support of the bill. As a Financial Services Retiree I believe that all workers should have the opportunity to provide for retirement. High minimums are a barrier to entry into retirement savings for many workers and high fees can eat away at the return. The best way for many workers to save is small, automatic deductions and this bill will do just that and more.

Julie Evans Star, Executive Director, Connecticut's Legislative Commission on Aging supports the bill. The population across the country is aging dramatically and Connecticut is the 7th oldest state in the nation and home to more than 1 million baby boomers. The retirement plan in this bill is a forward-thinking solution to the emerging crisis for older retiring adults. Workers will have the tools to save for their own retirement saving the state money and helping people to help themselves.

Connecticut Working Families Organization testified in support of the bill. Fewer and fewer workers have the resources and the tools to save enough for their retirement. Today's workers do not have pension plans available but instead risky 401k's or nothing at all. No one should have to worry about retirement. Setting up a public-run retirement savings plan will give security to our workers, relief to our small business and dignity to our future seniors.

Todd Berch, Connecticut AFL-CIO testified in support of the bill. The bill is a statement to our next generation of workers that we offer another option for a secure retirement. One in four retirees in Connecticut currently live in poverty and we need to do something so this does not happen in the future.

AARP submitted testimony supporting the bill. Workers are not prepared for retirement and more than six of ten middle-class Connecticut retirees can expect to outlive their financial assets. Social Security was never meant to be the sole source of income for retirees. We need to make it easy and cost-effective to save for retirement and this bill will provide just that.

Lucile Huelin supports the bill. Everyone deserves a secure retirement and changes need to be made to help the aging population.

Lisa-Marie Tursi submitted testimony supporting the bill. I have a 403B but can't put enough away to maintain this lifestyle in thirty years.

Linda Dalles submitted testimony supporting the bill. By pooling resources workers in the state will benefit from a higher return on their investment.

Laurel Johnson testified supporting the bill. Everyone deserves a secure retirement and it to everyone's advantage for the general public to have access to a safe and secure retirement savings account.

Kenny Foscue supports the bill. All working people should have access to a decent retirement .It a fair and good public policy that will help the economy.

Kathleen Kilcommons supports the bill. Personal Savings Accounts make little or no interest but a state run retirement fund would promote the wellbeing of all.

Joyce Burns ,Al Benford, Andrew Politzer, Bonnie Odiorne, Dorothy Lovett Buckley,Efrem Golden, Herb Greenebaum, Joel Ramos, Ray Wilhelm, Robert Graham, Roberta Paro, Tom Sharkey, Warren Campbell, Susan Kulis, Terri Tylo, Wendy Kohli, Rein Vosari, Robert Vercillo, Sidney Braverman, Andrea Henry, Anna Fabis, Barry Stein, Chris Doob, Daniel Hatch, Elke Hoppenbrouwers, George Bossers, Jann Dalton, Joe & Bev Manes, John Silk, and John Robinson all submitted testimony that everyone deserves a secure retirement.

Barry Sheckley supports the bill. As an average 25 year old who does not have any retirement savings the impending crisis can only be averted with quick and prompt action in the present.

Bryan Bonin supports the bill. Stagnant wages mean workers are less able to afford the high contribution limits and expensive fees of private retirement savings plans.

Chris Henderson testified in support of the bill. As a 23 year old I am concerned for my retirement security. I have a 410K but would love to have a public, state-run retirement savings plan to ensure financial security.

Donnal Lorell supports the bill. After being laid off in 2004, I went back to school for a teaching degree and am still unable to obtain a full time teaching position. I know I won't be able to retire as I have little savings after 20 years of working.

Gerald Geci supports the bill. Living on just Social Security would be tough. We need more people who know about savings and investing to prepare for retirement.

John Westphal sent testimony supporting the bill. I am currently an electrician and my wife and I both have employers who offer retirement benefits. I am worried that our 401K plans plus our Social Security benefits will not be enough to live on. The 401K fees are outrageous and we need a public retirement savings plan option that eliminates those large fees.

Kevin Lynch supports the passage of the bill. Our nation is in a tragic situation with many senior retired Americans living in poverty. Too many workers from Connecticut are employed by concerns that no longer offer pension plans. This bill would provide suitable retirement security.

Laurence Johnson supports the public retirement plan envisioned in this bill.

Paul Piccirillo testified in support of the bill. As a self-employed painter and wallpaper I have tried to put away money for my retirement. My wife has a 401K but this plan is what we need to secure our financial independence in retirement.

Scott Schweizer submitted testimony in support of the bill. As a registered voter and a citizen of Connecticut I am concerned that with large companies eliminating pensions individuals will not have the funds for retirement. This bill provides more access to retirement savings.

Sariano Camilleri supports the bill. As a self-employed accountant I have the skills to make my own pension but being able to retire well should not depend on your having the knowledge to make your pension do well. This bill will make it possible for more self-employed workers to retire well.

Scott Schweizer supports the retirement savings plan. We need to fix our pension system and a public state run trust is a viable option and a step in the right direction.

Susan Torgerson supports the bill. Having been unemployed from a permanent position since 2009 and middle age I have done everything to become more marketable. I could and would contribute to this when I get back to work.

Thomas Grill submitted testimony in support of the bill. Less than half of Connecticut workers have a 401K. Older Americans are at risk to have insufficient assets for retirement. We need a public, state-run retirement savings plan that every worker could access.

Winfield Schmitt submitted testimony that at least 53% of Americans age 30 and older are at risk to have insufficient assets for retirement when they reach 65. Without retirement savings many will only have Social Security to survive on.

Tim Oliveira supports the bill. I am witnessing firsthand how difficult it is for many seniors. My grandmother only has a small pension from my late grandfather and her social security to live on. She has to ask every month for financial support. A public retirement plan would go a long way making it easier for people of my generation to save for retirement.

Virginia Pellecia supports the bill. I worked for the Navy and have a small pension and together with my late husband's social security I barely have enough to pay my bills.

Robert Andrews submitted testimony in support of the bill. At 67 and retired I had to go back to work to make ends meet. I hope my children and grandchildren will not have to work when they retire.

Annmarie Merritt supports the bill. In Wisconsin you can contribute 14% to one's retirement. This is state plus individual retirement accounts.

Carol Lukoss supports the bill. A savings plan is an idea whose time has definitely come.

Donna Poremba submitted testimony in support of the bill. Having recently retired unwillingly I am already panicking. In November I will start to use my 401K but that will not be enough. Employers are not doing enough to help their employees retire.

James Sharp testified in support of the bill. The 401K and IRA programs do not benefit the workers but benefit the financial companies. A universal state run retirement pool could be the best if not the last solution to provide reasonable retirement benefits for today's working class.

John Jones supports the bill. I retired in 2004 and only get $375 per month despite years of service. Employers are not doing enough to help employees retire securely and we need a plan that allows individuals to save for their retirement.

The following people signed a petition supporting the bill. Cindy Guarnieri, Rosana Mezrioui, Dan Smith, Joseph Freeman, Rev, Brian Hutchinson, Lisa Council, Irfan Refai, George Comesana Vila, William Petig, Sonya Huber, Elizabeth Neuse, Michael Shapiro, Ruth Martin, Illisa Kelman, Claude Lewis, Rebecca Baugh, Elizabeth Tuminski, Evelyn Santiago, Rugh Cion, Mary Ellen Pagano, Joe Barber, Dan McGuire, Don Vergara, Silvia Hines, Jessica Fricke, Dahlia Romanow, Gauvin Curran, Laura Rozza, Mario Mesa, Denise Patterson, Denneth Rowland, Pat De Luca, Mary VanDerMeid, Michael Couture, Lori Graham, Druecilla Lewis, Mia Douglas, Kevin Hughes, Peter Hawkins, Kym Williams, Meghan Wilson, Yvonne Hardgrave, Diane Matta, Harris Porter, Linda Gilbert, Don and Brad Noel, Alese Tait, Suzanne Bores, Norma Fitzpatrick, Eric Schappach, Henry Lowendorf, Elizabeth Kiernan, Denise Millet, Steven Wilson, Brad Fries, Helen Keegan, Geoffrey Barans, Richard Dufour, Doreen LeBel, Francis Furmanek, Kristin Helmore, Barbara Sergi, Elizabeth Gullen, Robert Hutchings, Yvonne Kirlew, Elsa Monteiro, Harold Meyer Jr, Den Oneill, Jeffrey Pardo, T H, Claire Held, Mark Lundberg, Hosam Afifi, Cheryl Leftridge, Tim McKee, Yesenia Rivera, Heather Files, Joe Harris, Veronica Feinstein, Jay Ames, Jennifer Drury, Wallace Many, Joe Mazza Mauro, Bill Martens, John Read, Willie Carr Jr, Stephanie Fox, Patricia Daragan, Linda Josey, Richard DiCapua, Audrey Gaines, Ismael Rodriguez, Grace Adams, and Robert Vavasour.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Susan Winkler, Connecticut Insurance and Financial Services Cluster submitted testimony against the bill. This bill would be in direct competition with the private sector and creates a burden on small businesses. The state could be at risk with undetermined liabilities and employers and employees already benefit form a highly competitive marketplace.

Kim Chamberlain, SIFMA expressed concerns with the bill. There is a savings challenge in this country but this bill is a step in the wrong direction. The bill would burden the State with additional costs and liabilities. The market for retirement savings alternatives in Connecticut is highly competitive with a wide range of products and services. We would like to work with the legislature to help expand retirement plan options.

Stan Sorkin, President, Connecticut Food Association testified in opposition to the bill. The bill is unnecessary and will add to employers' administrative burdens. Our employees already have a wide variety of retirement planning products and this bill would only create a new liability for state taxpayers.

Stephen Tafilatela, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa submitted testimony against the bill. Employers already have costly administrative burdens and employees have retirement vehicles available through existing commercial institutions.

Mark Di Venere, President, Gemco Manufacturing Company submitted testimony against the bill. Gemco's employees have access to a 410K plan and have since 1996. Mandating retirement programs is not the role of the government.

Lou Tashash, President, R-D Mfg. strongly opposes the bill. We already have a state run retirement in Social Security. This bill would further put Connecticut behind in attracting and retaining businesses.

Kate Kiernan, Vice President, American Council of Life Insurers opposes the bill. Life insurance companies already serve the needs to individuals and employers for their retirement needs in Connecticut. The federal Department of Labor has made it clear that private sector employees do not receive the ERISA exemption.

Marissa Woodworth, Frank Roth Company, opposes the bill. The bill is unnecessary and bad for both employers and employees.

Steve Wolfe submitted testimony against the bill. There are IRA's available to all. You do not need this bill is just duplicates what is already offered in the private sector.

National Federation of Independent Business suggests rejection of the bill. The state is current facing an unfunded pension liability and this is not the time for the state to create a new plan. Such a mandate is not going to make Connecticut more business friendly.

Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce opposes the bill. If this bill becomes law the state would be in direct completion with private businesses that administer retirement products for a living. Employers would incur the cost to properly administer their employee's participation or non-participation making another difficult mandate for Connecticut businesses.

Lee Anne Madersky, PSA Metallurgical Services submitted testimony against the bill. This bill will burden Connecticut's smallest of small businesses. Many of these businesses may not have bookkeeping personnel to set up a payroll deduction and to administer their employee's participation or nonparticipation in the plan.

Insurance Association of Connecticut agrees with the basic goal of the bill but if implemented would be contrary to the interests of the state and its citizens. There is no shortage of retirement plans in Connecticut and the market is highly competitive. The state should not be in the business of competing directly and unnecessarily with the life insurance industry and its many employees, agents and brokers that would in it.

Eric Gjede, CBIA testified in opposition to the bill. There is no shortage of accessible IRA plans at local banks. This bill could create financial and legal liabilities for Connecticut taxpayers.

Diane Nadeau, President, Chamber of Commerce, Windham Region submitted testimony opposing the bill. The bill is unnecessary and interferes with our State's financial services. The financial services sector is one of the sectors that are ranked high and are doing well. Do not risk their continued growth.

Catherine Ernsky, The Ernsky Group does not support the bill. Expansion of retirement plan access is necessary this type of legislation presents numerous legal, financial and practical hurdles for the state.

Carolyn Hafner, I.T. Dealers Supply wrote to express her opposition to the bill. The bill is unnecessary and will add to employers' administration burdens and costs.

Reported by: Pamela Bianca

Date: 03/31/2014