Two Republican congressmen are trying to discourage Oregon and seven other states from moving to adopt new publicly sponsored retirement plans.
Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read says the state's new plan — kn0wn as Oregon Saves — will make it easier for those without retirement plans to save for their old age.
But Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., and Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., says these state plans could discourage businesses from offering their own retirement accounts. And they complain the plans have too many exemptions from federal pension rules. The two introduced resolutions to abolish those exemptions, which were approved by the Obama administration last year.
"Our nation faces difficult retirement challenges, but more government isn't the solution," said Walberg, chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce said in a statement this week. "A better way is to reduce costly red tape and make it easier for small businesses to band together to offer retirement plans for their employees."
The AARP opposes the resolution, saying the state plans offer a needed alternative for the 55 million Americans don't have any retirement savings accounts through their jobs.
Treasurer Read says Oregon will go ahead with its savings program regardless of what Congress does. He did concede, though, that the removal of the exemptions from federal pension laws would make the Oregon program more cumbersome.
"We're aimed at a real problem," Read said. "About a million people in Oregon don't have access to a retirement savings program at work, and we're trying to make it easier for people to save their own money and prepare for retirement."
Oregon plans to begin with a pilot program in July. Employers without retirement plans will eventually be required to put 5 percent of their workers’ pay into a state-sponsored plan. Workers could opt out if they don’t want to participate.