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Voluntary Public Retirement Plan

There is a major problem facing those who are getting ready to retire. Far too many workers have not been able to contribute to their future because their employer did not provide a pension or they were self-employed. On top of that, the other two legs of the retirement stool – personal savings and Social Security – are not enough to sustain a dignified retirement. State legislators can fix this issue by supporting Senate Bill 54, which would create a voluntary public retirement plan. Under the proposed language, workers in Connecticut who do not have access to a retirement plan through their employer would be able to deposit a percentage of their annual salary into a retirement savings trust fund. The beauty of the plan is that it’s portable, so workers can take their investment with them as they move from job to job. The plan has low administrative costs, because it’s a not-for-profit structure administered through the state; whatever administrative costs are associated with the plan are charged to the participants themselves, not Connecticut taxpayers. And professional pension managers from the State Treasurer’s office will ensure a positive return on investment. According to economist Joelle Saad-Lessler in her testimony before the legislature this year, more than 686,000 thousand workers in Connecticut between the ages of 25 and 64 did not have access to a retirement plan through their employer in 2010. “It is important,” Dr. Saad-Lessler noted, “for everyone to be able to contribute to his or her future and be able to retire happily, not just a few.” I couldn’t agree more. That’s why we need our state lawmakers, who were elected by the people and for the people, to pass SB 54 and send it on to Gov. Malloy for his signature. Richard Waselik New London The writer is President of AFSCME Local 1378, the New London Public Works Union.

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