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AARP, Small Businesses Urging Passage of Retirement Savings Bill

BILL STATUS UPDATE: Senate Bill 5740 passed the Senate on Friday, March 8 with a bipartisan vote of 31-17. Click here for AARP statement on Senate passage.  It passed the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Business on April 2; passed the House Appropriations Committee on April 8; and is now heading to a House floor vote.

For Immediate Release
March 21, 2019

Contacts:
Christina Clem / 206-604-9864
Cathy MacCaul / 206-218-5915

AARP, Small Businesses Urging Passage of Retirement Savings Bill
SB 5740 aimed at helping more than 1.1 million WA workers with no access to workplace savings plans

Olympia, WA – AARP, the Washington Hospitality Association and small businesses across the state are pressing for passage of a measure aimed at helping the more than 1.1 million Washington workers who currently have no access to workplace savings plans. Senate Bill 5740, the “Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program,” passed the Senate on March 8 with a bipartisan vote of 31-17, and is next scheduled for an Executive Session in the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Business next Tuesday, March 26.

“For millions of Washingtonians, each passing second means less time to save for retirement,” says AARP Advocacy Director Cathy MacCaul. “While the clock keeps ticking, they keep struggling to find a way to take control of their financial future. Social Security is just not enough to retire on. So unless we act soon, a secure retirement will be out of their reach.”

The self-sustaining, participant-funded 401(k) style program will allow workers to:

  • Make saving easy. The program automatically makes contributions to employee savings accounts through payroll deductions and allows them to keep their account as they progress from job to job. Studies show that people are 15 times more likely to save if they can do so right out of their regular paycheck at work.
  • Put their money to work. Money saved is money earned. Automatic enrollment simplifies the process of saving for retirement by transforming a confusing process - whether to save, how much to save, and how to invest - into a simple choice.
  • Keep them in control. The Auto-IRA program is completely voluntary so employees can opt out at any time. The program gives workers complete control over their own retirement savings account, putting them in the driver's seat.

Facing growing opposition to the bill from the insurance industry, AARP has launched a series of efforts encouraging workers and employers to contact their legislators in support of SB 5740. “The insurance industry is lobbying hard against this measure, interested more in increasing their own sales and bottom lines than in the well-being of Washington workers and small business,” says MacCaul. “Participation rates in retirement plans have not budged in more than 40 years. Secure Choice can help change that by creating an option for a whole new class of savers that the private markets haven’t been able or willing to reach.”

“Secure Choice will make small businesses more competitive by giving them an easy way to offer a savings option,” says Senator Mark Mullet (D-5) prime legislative sponsor of the bill. “No HR department needed. No shopping for a product. No need to prepare guidance or education for employees. No operational or regulatory burden. The Secure Choice program facilitates all of those tasks,” he said. “As a small business owner myself, I know how transformative this bill can be for both Washington employers and the employees that are counting on them.”

“Like many other small business owners, I am invested in my employees' long-term success which includes vehicles like retirement that positively impact financial health,” says Brian Moreno, owner of McDonald's in central Washington and a member of the Washington Hospitality Association. “Our businesses are complex, and in many cases, it is burdensome to set up and manage a retirement plan on your own. The Secure Choice Savings Program will be a game changer by helping more small businesses offer workers a way to plan for their future,” said Moreno.

For more information on SB 5740, visit www.aarp.org/wa

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