Martin M. Looney

Senate President Pro Tempore

Martin M. Looney

An Advocate for Us

May 4, 2017

Statement from Senate President Martin M. Looney on the United State Senates Repeal of State Retirement Security Savings Plans

Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) today released the following statement after the United States Senate voted (50-49) to roll back rules allowing states to create employee-sponsored, state-administered retirement plans:

“Republicans have once again turned their backs on the more than 600,000 private-sector workers in Connecticut who don’t have an employee-sponsored retirement savings plan,” said Senator Looney. “Republicans are standing directly in the way of financially secure futures for hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents. Helping private sector workers save their own money for retirement is a sustainable common-sense solution to people from falling into poverty once they reach retirement age and may be entirely reliant on social security benefits.”

Last year, the General Assembly passed legislation (Public Act 16-29) creating a voluntary retirement savings program for the estimated 600,000 Connecticut residents who don’t have a retirement savings plan available to them through their employer. Connecticut’s plan is slated to begin in less than a year—in January 2018—and it will save 3 percent of workers’ pay after they’ve been with a company for 120 days.

The legislation creates a program in which employees make voluntary contributions to be deposited into a professionally managed retirement fund; every employee would have the chance to enroll in the retirement savings program. Employers wouldn’t have any fiduciary responsibility and wouldn’t be required to pay any administrative fees. The program is designed to be self-sustaining and low-risk.

Last year, the AARP shared the results of its report, A Common-Sense Approach: The 2016 Connecticut Work and Save Plan, a survey of 1,000 Connecticut residents ages 35-64 which was conducted by the AARP Public Policy Institute. According to the survey:

  • 88 percent of Connecticut residents wish they had saved more for their retirement
  • Regardless of political affiliation, 79 percent of Connecticut residents agree that elected officials should support a state retirement savings plan
  • 65 percent of Connecticut residents are “anxious” about having enough money for retirement

More than 90 percent of Connecticut residents say a retirement savings plan should be easy to use, low-cost, and should follow workers from job to job
The 2016 retirement security legislation was enacted two years after Senator Looney and Speaker of the House (then House Majority Leader) Joe Aresimowicz led passage of a bill creating the Connecticut Retirement Security Board, which was tasked with conducting a market feasibility study and a comprehensive proposal for the creation of a retirement plan for private-sector Connecticut workers.