FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Michelle Nicolet
April 9, 2014—On a vote of 31 in favor, 22 opposed, and 2 abstaining, the Illinois Senate took a groundbreaking step toward reversing Illinois’s retirement insecurity crisis by passing the Secure Choice Savings Program (SB 2758) today. The bill will give millions of private sector workers the opportunity to build a financially secure future by expanding access to employment-based retirement savings accounts.
“Secure Choice is a critical component of the asset opportunity movement,” said Carol Ashley, Vice President of Advocacy at the Shriver Center. The Shriver Center has been a leading proponent of the Secure Choice Savings Program, in partnership with IABG, Heartland Alliance, Woodstock Institute, SEIU Healthcare, AARP Illinois, and over 45 organizations and businesses across the state.
More than 2.5 million Illinois workers do not have access to a retirement savings account through their employer, according to a report from Woodstock Institute. Lack of access to an employment-based retirement savings plan is most serious for low-wage workers, of whom 60 percent lack access, but also significant for higher-wage workers. In every Senate district in Illinois, over half of private-sector workers do not have access to this type of savings plan.
SB 2758, sponsored by Senator Daniel Biss, will automatically enroll workers without access to an employer-based retirement plan into the Secure Choice program. While workers can opt out of the program, those who do participate will be able to build savings in a portable Individual Retirement Account (IRA) through a payroll deduction.
“We're facing a looming retirement security crisis: 2.5 million Illinois workers lack access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. Unless we act now to help give Illinois residents the tools to save, the number of retirees living in poverty will continue to grow,” said Senator Biss. “The Secure Choice program will have a minimal impact on the state and participating businesses, but the effect for workers will be the difference between a retirement in dignity and a retirement in poverty.”
The bill will now move to the House where Representative Barbara Flynn Currie will be the Chief Sponsor. She is the current sponsor of the companion bill, HB 4595. “The Secure Choice Savings Program makes it easy for Illinois workers to save without burdening employers or the state,” Representative Currie said. “This is a bill that every legislator who cares about the retirement security of Illinois workers should vote for.”
“Providing a simple, safe and affordable way for Illinoisans, particularly those residing in neighborhoods with higher percentages of persons of color or low-income wage earners, to save for retirement is paramount. These Illinois residents traditionally are not the focus of financial institutions and are consequently left on the sidelines. Secure Choice turns that investment paradigm around and magnifies the savings power of individuals, thus strengthening low and middle income communities,” said Ashley. “We applaud the Senate for standing up for low- and middle-income Illinoisans in passing SB 2758, and we urge the House to do the same.”
The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. Through policy development, advocacy, litigation, consulting, training and communications, we are building the national capacity of people living in poverty by representing them directly and by supporting and enhancing the capacity of other public interest lawyers who serve them. For more information, visit: http://povertylaw.org/
The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. We advocate for and serve clients directly, while also building the capacity of the nation’s legal aid providers to advance justice and opportunity for their clients. www.povertylaw.orgDownload this