Re: “Legislature can make it easier for workers to save for retirement” [Feb. 11, Opinion]:
More can be done to help small business workers save for retirement. But a proposed state-run retirement plan now before the Legislature, Senate Bill 5740, misses the mark.
This plan carries risks for workers and financial burdens for taxpayers. A state-run program in neighboring Oregon has already spent more than $5 million to offer an IRA with no option for employer matching and no apparent federal protections. California’s plan faces a legal challenge contending it violates federal law. No wonder 37 other states have rejected similar proposals.
There are better alternatives.
The new federal Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act gives small employers tax credits for new plans and lets them band together to reduce costs. Thanks to this new law, more than 700,000 small business workers will start saving for retirement, including 18,500 in Washington.
A new rule from the U.S. Labor Department permits associations, including local chambers of commerce, to create low-cost retirement plans for their members. The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce already offers a plan, with the full benefits and federal protections of a 401(k). Chambers in Seattle and around Washington state could do the same.
These robust plans will help small employers and workers more than an expensive government-run IRA.
Ryan Jewell, Mount Vernon, board member, National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Washington