AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel, Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez and AARP volunteers unveil the petitions at the State Capitol

4/5 of NY Small Businesses Want State to Act; Bipartisan Backing

ALBANY, N.Y. – AARP today delivered 10,000 petitions from New Yorkers across the state to Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders asking them to include a state-facilitated workplace retirement savings option in the final 2017-18 state budget due by the end of this month.

The petitions urge the Governor and lawmakers to incorporate “Secure Choice” legislation – which has bipartisan support in both houses – into the final spending plan for the fiscal year that begins April 1.

As fewer employers offer workplace retirement savings plans, over half of New York’s private sector workforce – 3.5 million people – can no longer get a pension or 401(k) on the job. Secure Choice would provide millions of New Yorkers an effective way to save for their future at work through payroll deduction. The voluntary “auto enrollment” option would carry minimal to no costs to businesses and the state.

AARP volunteers unveiled the petitions at the Capitol with Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez, the prime sponsor of Secure Choice (A4982), Assembly Aging Committee Chair Donna Lupardo, a co-sponsor, and several young New Yorkers looking to their generation’s future.

“The state budget is crunch time in Albany, and these economic times are crunch time for millions of New Yorkers who have no effective way to save for their futures at the workplace,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel. “Now is the time for the state to step up and address this retirement savings crisis in our state.”

“It has been very clear to me and many of my colleagues in the Legislature that we need to address the lack of access to retirement savings in the workplace,” said Senator Diane Savino, prime Senate sponsor of Secure Choice (S4344), who was unable to make today’s event. “Many of New York’s working- and middle-class families work hard their entire lives, only to face retirement with little to no savings. The New York Secure Choice Retirement Program, a state-sponsored IRA that would provide employees who have no retirement plans access to a state-run employee payroll deduction program, could help up to 2.5 million New Yorkers ensure that they have a financially safe future.”

“Today we are sending a clear message to the State that New Yorkers want and need access to retirement savings plans like Secure Choice,” said Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez. “Now is the time to act to ensure the financial security of all New Yorkers. We need to include Secure Choice in the budget to assure our future.”

“A new generation of older New Yorkers are remaining more active and involved in their communities than ever before,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo. “Financial stability and affordable living is an important part of ensuring our seniors remain in New York during their retirement. The Secure Choice Savings Program is one tool the state can utilize to help provide seniors with the resources needed to enjoy their retirement.”

“If I’m typical of Millennials, it’s possible that I could work for a company that doesn’t offer a pension or a 401(k) – things our parents and grandparents took for granted when they got a job – and which helped them prepare for retirement,” said Smitha Varghese, a Queens College junior. “Secure Choice is common sense, and it should be part of the new state budget.

Illinois, Oregon, California, Connecticut and Maryland have enacted similar plans. Recent AARP surveys show 80% of the New York’s small businesses think state lawmakers should back a plan to make it easier for them to offer their employees a way to save for retirement – with 56% strongly agreeing. And 82% of New York Generation Xers and Baby Boomers favor a Secure Choice-type plan.

“Small businesses should try to provide their often loyal employees with some ability to plan for their futures,” said Donna Nichols, executive director of the Moreau Community Center in South Glens Falls and a survey respondent. “People are much more likely to save through an employer plan than on their own. Secure Choice would give many employees the chance to do so.”

Contact: Erik Kriss, ekriss@aarp.org

Follow us on Twitter:  @AARPNY and Facebook: AARP New York

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million that helps people turn their goals and dreams into ‘Real Possibilities’ by changing the way America defines aging. With staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and promote the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare security, financial security and personal fulfillment. AARP also advocates for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name.  As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation magazine, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and our CEO @JoAnn_Jenkins on Twitter.