Senator Chris Larson issued the following statement regarding today’s public hearing on Senate Bill 45, the Wisconsin Private Secure Retirement Act.
“Wisconsinites, whether they work in the public or private sector, deserve an opportunity to have peace of mind upon retirement. My democratic colleagues and I recognize the success of the state Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) program and introduced Senate Bill 45, which would create a similar system for workers in the private sector.
“Senate Bill 45 would protect our retirees by providing the framework to make low-cost, secure pension plans accessible to all of our workers. While the private funds invested by Wisconsinites would be held separately from those in the WRS, they would still be managed by State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB), who has effectively managed the WRS.
“Importantly, while the framework of this bill is based on our world-class WRS, we recognize that taking an innovative approach to addressing our retirement crisis needs additional consideration. That’s why Senate Bill 45 creates and directs an oversight board – made up of industry experts – to conduct a study regarding the feasibility of establishing a plan. The board would gather public input from around the state and present all of its findings to the Legislature within 18 months of the bill going into effect.
“With 42% of Wisconsin workers not having access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, this bill is a fundamental step towards ensuring workers are able to plan for their future in retirement. Furthermore, Wisconsin small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Unfortunately, 63% of our state’s small businesses that want to offer a retirement savings plan are unable to afford to. This bill makes it easier for small businesses to establish a basic retirement savings option for their employees.
“With Wisconsin’s aging population – the number of people 65 or older is expected to almost double in the next 30 years – we cannot afford to be passive bystanders when it comes to this issue. We must get the ball rolling and start looking into ways to help secure our neighbors’ retirement.”