NCPERS Fires Back at Attack on Innovative Retirement Savings Plans

Congress Considers Scrapping Rules that Foster Workplace Savings

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The National
Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems
vowed to fight an
effort in Congress to unwind state and local government initiatives to
enhance retirement security for millions of private-sector employees.


Two resolutions introduced February 8 would attempt to block federal
regulations to facilitate the creation of public-private partnerships to
expand workplace retirement savings options. Relying on flawed analysis,
the resolutions—H.J. Res. 66 and H.J. Res. 67—are designed to derail
innovative programs being implemented in seven states and evaluated in
at least 25 more.

“The alternative facts advanced by the sponsors of these resolutions
ignore reality,” said Hank
H. Kim
, NCPERS executive director and counsel. “These state-led
retirement savings programs would be responsibly managed for the benefit
of savers and only savers, would meet the needs of employers, and would
ultimately save taxpayers billions of dollars.”

States and municipalities have spent several years developing savings
programs for the 55 million Americans—half of the private-sector
workforce—whose employers offer no retirement benefits. Kim noted that
the Employee Benefit Research Institute has pegged the retirement income
deficit among workers currently 25 to 64 years of age at $4 trillion.

“States, in their time-honored role as laboratories for innovation, have
come up with programs that combine the best of public- and private
sector approaches, based on years of rigorous research and study,” Kim
explained. “It is astonishingly hypocritical that lawmakers who claim to
favor private-sector solutions and state autonomy would try to prevent
partnerships that promote both.”

California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey,
Oregon, and Washington have already enacted legislation to help
private-sector employers automatically enroll their employees in
workplace retirement savings programs, called Secure
Choice
plans after a model program developed by NCPERS in 2011. In
2016, the Department of Labor issued regulations
to facilitate the creation of these public-private plans after
confirming that the Secure Choice programs are permissible under the
provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA. The
resolutions seek to revoke these so-called safe-harbor provisions for
state and local programs, respectively.

The resolutions were introduced by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), chairman of
the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions of the House
Committee on Education and the Workforce, and Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL).

About NCPERS

The National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS)
is the largest trade association for public sector pension funds,
representing more than 500 funds throughout the United States and
Canada. It is a unique non-profit network of public trustees,
administrators, public officials and investment professionals who
collectively manage more than $3 trillion in pension assets. Founded in
1941, NCPERS is the principal trade association working to promote and
protect pensions by focusing on advocacy,
research
and education
for the benefit of public sector pension stakeholders.

Contacts

CommCore Consulting
Debra Cope, 202-468-3814
dcope@commcoreconsulting.com