Connecticut group wants state MyRA

By BenefitsPro

By Dan Berman

President Barack Obama’s call for the creation of retirement accounts to help U.S. workers has spurred a Connecticut coalition to once again urge lawmakers to help the 740,000 workers in the state who are not covered by an employer-sponsored plan.

“We are thrilled to see the president lead in this area, and hope Connecticut legislators will follow his lead by passing the Retirement for All bill,” said Bette Marafino, president of the Connecticut Alliance for Retired Americans. “This … measure … would create a public retirement plan that employers could offer to their employees, at no cost to the state.”

The alliance is part of the Retirement for All CT Coalition, which was formed to urge passage of the bill proposed by Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, a Democrat. In 2013, the bill, which Looney has said is modeled on similar legislation in California, won the support of the Joint Committee on Labor and Public Employees.

Expected to be reintroduced next month, the bill would allow workers to put a percentage of their salaries into a state trust fund. The retirement accounts would be portable so changing jobs would allow workers to continue to defer money into them.

In his State of the Union address son Tuesday night, Obama announced that the Treasury Department would create “MyRa” accounts for workers without access to 401(k) plans.

The National Institute on Retirement Security says 44.5 million workers do not have access to retirement plans. In Connecticut, a Schwartz Center for Policy Analysis study showed about 740,000 are in a similar situation.

“The increase in the number of individuals without retirement accounts poses a danger to the broader economy, which will suffer the destabilizing effects of the mass downward mobility of seniors,” said Teresa Ghilarducci, director of the center and an author of the study. “Now is the time for Connecticut and other states to take a lead in providing an option for all workers to participate in a retirement savings plan at work.”

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