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Public Retirement Bill Included In Budget

by Christine Stuart | May 6, 2014 5:55pm
(6) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Pension, State Budget

CTNJ file photo

Sen. Majority Leader Martin Looney

Democratic lawmakers want to make sure private companies offer their employees an opportunity to invest in a retirement plan so they formed the Connecticut Retirement Security Board as part of the state budget.

The concept had been raised as a separate piece of legislation, but with time running out the Democratic-controlled General Assembly decided to include it in a separate bill implementing the state budget. That bill is expected to come up for debate in the House Wednesday.

House Majority Leader Joseph Aresimowicz teamed with Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney this year to push the proposal over the finish line.

The version included in draft budget language is a pared down version of the original bill. Instead of immediately creating a public retirement board and retirement account, it creates a board to study the issue. That board, according to draft language, is expected to conduct a “market feasibility study” and come back to the governor and legislature no later than Jan. 1, 2016 with its recommendations.

Sen. Joseph Markley, R-Southington, said he wasn’t necessarily opposed to studying the issue, but he didn’t believe it belonged in a budget bill.

“As a general policy matter it’s a terrible idea,” Markley said of the decision to introduce the concepts as part of the budget.

He said he would have opposed the budget anyway and would have opposed public retirement accounts if it was a free-standing bill, but is vehemently against the idea of jamming a whole bunch of concepts that didn’t get passed into a bill implementing the budget.

There also is $400,000 allocated to the volunteer board. The money is expected to be used to hire consultants to do the study for the board.

Markley opined that the amount seemed “excessive.”

Republican lawmakers expressed concern about public retirement accounts at the end of April when it won the support of some strong special interest groups like AARP. At that time, Republicans were so concerned that they held a press conference with financial planners to explain how, in their opinion, it would hurt the industry.

“The reality is the private market makes products available to help people invest and make savings for their retirements,” Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney said back in April. “They’ve been doing it for a very long time. They can do it better than the government can do it.”

Democratic lawmakers disagreed. Looney cites the more than 600,000 Connecticut residents whose only retirement savings will come from Social Security. He said it’s the right thing to do to help residents find a way to invest and studies show people are more likely to invest when the money is taken through a payroll deduction.

Sen. Gary Holder-Winfield, D-New Haven, has said that at some point people who haven’t saved anything for their retirement will end up coming to the state for assistance. He said the concept is fiscally responsible because it may make people less dependent on state government for help.

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(6) Comments

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | May 6, 2014  8:40pm

Kinda funny when the republicans are totally right on something, isn’t it?


posted by: art vandelay | May 6, 2014  9:35pm

art vandelay

The “Low Information Crowd”  has all the tools necessary for retirement through the private sector.  IRA’s are available along with 401K’s.  There is no need for the state to get involved.  The only reason why the state wants to get involved is the capital they can spend.  It would be like the Social Security Trust Fund which in reality is nonexistent.  Believe me, if the State Retirement Fund comes to fruition, not much money will be put into it anyway.  I resent the fact that the state is going to spend $400,000.00 for consultants that it does not have.

posted by: Bluecoat | May 6, 2014  9:51pm

Can someone make sure the the “Hoarder Tax” as proposed by Democrat Rep Betsy Ritter of Waterford does not get sneaked into a budget bill in the middle of the night tonight?

posted by: justsayin | May 7, 2014  5:24am

Another overeach by legislators. Terrible policy.

posted by: Noteworthy | May 7, 2014  12:24pm

One can see first hand, the lack of intelligence by those who rule. They make crap up, pull a number out of the air, and don’t vet or pass it on its own, just broad brush it into the final rat bill. Amazing.

posted by: Stephen Mendelsohn | May 9, 2014  12:26am

Dirty politics: Forced unionization provisions snuck into the budget implementer bill on last day of CT legislative session (HB 5597):


The law allows certain family child care providers and personal care attendants (PCAs) to collectively bargain with the state over their reimbursement rates and other benefits. Any provision in a resulting contract that would supersede a law or regulation must be affirmatively approved by the General Assembly before the contact can become effective.

The bill approves such provisions in the contracts between (1) the Office of Early Childhood and the Connecticut State Employees Association (CSEA-SEIU, Local 2001) (“childcare workers”) and (2) the Personal Care Attendant Workforce Council and the New England Health Care Employees Union (District 1199, SEIU) (PCAs)....

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

Sec. 159. (Effective from passage) (a) The provisions of the agreement between the Office of Early Childhood and the Connecticut State Employees Association (CSEA-SEIU Local 2001) that require supercedence of a law or regulation, submitted to the General Assembly for approval February 24, 2014, as provided in subdivision (7) of subsection (e) of section 17b-705a of the general statutes, are approved.

(b) The provisions of the agreement between the Personal Care Attendant Workforce Council and the New England Health Care Employees Union (District 1199, SEIU) that require supercedence of a law or regulation, submitted to the General Assembly for approval April 4, 2014, as provided in subdivision (7) of subsection (c) of section 17b-706b of the general statutes, are approved.

Highly controversial provisions approved at the last minute without debate.  Ugh!