Important retirement savings plan bill passes State Senate -- a new hope for a brighter retirement future for over a million NJ workers is just one signature away

PRINCETON, NJ - Today, the Secure Choice Savings Program Act (A4275/S2831) completed its journey through the New Jersey State Legislature, approving the bill on final action of the State Senate. The bill now goes to Governor Chris Christie for consideration of approval.

The bill has bipartisan support in co-sponsorships and votes in both chambers. The bill was approved by the State Assembly late last year.

Today’s vote comes on the heels of a recently released AARP poll that shows overwhelming support for Secure Choice by New Jersey small business owners. In their poll of over 450 New Jersey small business owners, 80% of small business owners indicated that they believe that Governor Christie should support a state retirement savings option such as Secure Choice. And small business owners of all political stripes support Secure Choice, with 73% of self-identified “conservatives” believing Christie should support this option.

“Secure Choice would mean that small businesses could be more competitive when it comes to the retirement benefits it can offer, and it means that more workers will be more financially prepared for their retirement years,” said Doug Johnston, AARP New Jersey interim State Director. “But Secure Choice also has the potential to pay big dividends for New Jersey taxpayers.”

A recent Rutgers study showed that the Secure Choice savings program has the potential to save New Jersey taxpayers as much as $1.6 billion dollars over 15 years.

Secure Choice has garnered support from business leadership groups across New Jersey including the state’s African American Chamber of Commerce, the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Asian-Indian Chamber of Commerce, the Chinese American Chamber of Commerce, and the Main Street Alliance. In addition, a myriad of professional and labor organizations including the AFL-CIO, CWA local 1032, the NJ Employers Association, and Ubiquity.

Previous studies have shown that the average working family has only $3,000 in retirement savings, and that individuals are 15 times more likely to save for retirement if they are able to do so through their work. However, 53% of New Jersey’s private sector workers have no retirement savings plan at work. Many of these workers are employed by small businesses that cannot afford to set up or maintain these retirement plans.

Secure Choice has the potential to change that.

The Secure Choice Savings Program Act (A4275/S2831) offers New Jersey workers an easy way to save for retirement at their jobs:
-- Secure Choice automatically enrolls workers without workplace savings plans into private sector, professionally managed Individual Retirement Accounts.
-- These accounts start with an automatic 3% payroll deduction. You can choose how much you save. You can opt out at any time.
--These accounts are reliable and portable. They grow as people work and move with them between jobs.
-- Funds are protected through a comprehensive risk management and oversight program.
-- Workers will have access to financial education and retirement savings guidance from trained professionals at their private investment firm.

“Small business owners, the very “mom and pop” shops on Main Street that we hear so much about taking care of, want Secure Choice. They see that it provides benefit to their employees, as well as to their own businesses,” said Johnston, “Secure Choice represents a pragmatic proposal that offers a real, substantive benefit for companies currently unable to offer this savings option.”
And now, Secure Choice, a bill with bipartisan and small business support, awaits only the signature of Governor Christie.

“We’ve received nearly 25,000 postcards from people of all political stripes in support of this critically important retirement savings option,” said Johnston. “We hope that those 25,000 voices will ring loud and clear to Governor Christie.”