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More Illinois Workers One Step Closer to Much-Needed Retirement Savings Option

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Springfield -- On behalf of our 1.7 million members, AARP Illinois commends the Illinois House for passing HB 117, sponsored by Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago) on a bi-partisan vote of 106 to 2 to expand access to the Illinois Secure Choice Savings program.

We also commend the Illinois Senate State Government committee for passing the identical bill in the Senate, sponsored by Sen. Robert Martwick (D-Chicago), on a bipartisan vote.

Illinois Secure Choice is a state-facilitated retirement program that makes it easy for employees of all ages who did not previously have access to an employment-based retirement savings benefit, to save for retirement. Since launching in 2018, the program has brought retirement savings access to workers in every county across Illinois.

“AARP Illinois worked hard to support Secure Choice because we know that helping people ages 50 and older to improve their quality of life as they age does not just mean helping people who are near or currently in retirement,” said State Director Bob Gallo. “It means we are looking out for those at all stages of their careers and will retire in the future.”

Today’s passage puts Illinois one step closer to expanding the program to all employers with at least 5 employees. If the measure passes both legislative chambers, it would allow nearly 1 million more Illinois workers the ability to save for retirement at work.

“We are pleased to receive strong bipartisan support for expansion of the Secure Choice Savings Program that helps more Illinois workers save for their retirement," Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs said. "Illinois Secure Choice already has more than 85,000 participants who have saved more than $55 million in retirement savings and this legislation will give even more people access and opportunity to save for their golden years."

“Expanding the Secure Choice program to small business employers will be a game changer for Illinois employees. It will afford them new opportunities to save and plan for retirement,” said Sen. Martwick. “I am so proud to sponsor and champion this bill.”

AARP Illinois also commends, Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon), Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) and Rep. Mike Murphy (R-Springfield) for their support on the measure. Their bipartisan leadership today showed that the Secure Choice Program is working and should be offered to more Illinois workers – and potentially replicated in other states.

“With broad bipartisan support, we took a big step today to help ensure retirement security for all Illinoisans. Too many don't have enough money saved to retire, and HB 117 will expand the pathbreaking Secure Choice program to help more people save," Rep. Guzzardi said.

This state, like many others, is facing a retirement crisis. The average Social Security benefit in Illinois is about $19,000 a year, while on average older families in Illinois spend $25,000 a year on food, utilities, and health care alone.  At this rate, one out of every two middle-class retirees will be unable to afford their basic needs in retirement- things like medicine, utilities, and rent.  Women and employees of color are disproportionately impacted by a lack of access to retirement plans.

This will cost taxpayers down the line in social services.  

“AARP Illinois commends Illinois legislators who today took action to make sure that every worker has a chance to put aside the money they need to take control of their future, Gallo said. “We now encourage the full Senate to take up this measure and pass it to the Governor.”

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