Lawmakers Tout New Retirement Plan as Concerns Loom Over Markets

Some of the state’s top Democrats joined the Connecticut Chapter of the AARP in calling for a state-run retirement plan or private sector workers who do not have access to an employer-sponsored plan.

The proposal, according to Comptroller Kevin Lembo, wouldn’t cost taxpayers anything, and would merely allow private citizens to access investment products and therefore returns the state already utilizes.

"There is a hole in this marketplace that is not serving everyone” said Lembo.

The AARP released a survey Thursday detailing what the group argues is the demand for a state-sponsored option for the 61% of residents who say they are concerned that they have not saved enough for retirement. In Connecticut, more than half of businesses do not provide a retirement plan to their employees.

Overall, supporters say residents have to come up with a long-term savings approach as markets in recent days have fluctuated up and down on uncertainty surrounding oil prices and volatility in overseas markets like China and Europe.

Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, (D – Berlin) said, “If you don't have any investment, you have no shot. We can't rely on the typical savings accounts, CDs, those just don't happen. I think the payroll deduction, the portability, the plan, it's our best option."

Republicans announced their opposition such an idea later Thursday, arguing there are plenty of options in the private marketplace.

Sen. Len Fasano, (R – Nort Haven), the Republican in the Connecticut Senate wrote, “It’s a risk both to taxpayers and contributing employers and employees. It also could result in employers who currently offer private retirement plans abandoning those for a state plan, causing harm to Connecticut businesses that offer these services now.”

His counterpart in the State Senate disagreed. Sen. Martin Looney, (D – New Haven), said this is a chance for the state to fill a void.

"Well if the private sector were successful in doing this, we wouldn't need to be offering this bill in the first place."

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