Martin M. Looney

Senate President Pro Tempore

Martin M. Looney

An Advocate for Us

August 17, 2017

Statement from Senate President Pro Tempore Looney on Connecticut’s Decision to Move Forward with Retirement Security Program

photo of Senator Looney.

Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) today issued the following statement applauding Connecticut’s decision to move forward with the implementation of the Connecticut Retirement Security Program despite Republican opposition in Washington:

“Helping private-sector workers save their own money for retirement is a sustainable, common-sense solution to prevent people from falling into poverty once they reach retirement age and may be entirely reliant on Social Security benefits. While I am proud that Connecticut is one of the states leading the way on this issue, I find it to be unfortunate that Republicans in Washington are actively working to deny a secure sound financial future to the 600,000 private-sector workers in Connecticut who don’t have an employee-sponsored retirement savings plan.”

In May, United States Senate voted (50-49) to roll back rules allowing states to create employee-sponsored, state-administered retirement plans.

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.