House Republicans Work to Ground Oregon's State-Sponsored Retirement Plan

Date: February 28, 2017

U.S. House Republicans are doing their best to make sure the state-sponsored retirement plan OregonSaves doesn’t get off the ground, according to The Oregonian.

U.S. Reps Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) are leading the charge, with Walberg noting, “The state plans will force people to participate and pose a bureaucratic burden for employers,” The Oregonian reports.

“Our nation faces difficult retirement challenges, but more government isn’t the solution,” Walberg said. “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.”

NFIB/OR State Director Anthony K. Smith agrees with this sentiment.

“This program has had a cloud of uncertainty over it from the beginning,” he says. “Not only have we been concerned about the federal ERISA [Employee Retirement Income Security Act] implications, how the U.S. Department of Labor would weigh in, and how the Oregon Retirement Savings Board would develop rules for implementation, but we have always been discouraged by the burdens placed on small businesses by this program.

“While it’s true that employees can opt-out of the automatic opt-in program if they so choose,” Smith continues, “employers do not have that choice. If the employer does not offer a qualifying retirement plan to its employees, they have to participate—and even if they offer a plan, it’s looking like there will be some reporting requirements, which would apply to every employer in the state.”

Broad consensus exists between stakeholders on all sides of the issue that saving for retirement is a very good idea. The disagreements arise in how states should be involved, to what extent they should mandate participation in these programs, and whether or not the states are stepping on the toes of Congress.

Although the plan’s details are still being ironed out, the Oregon Retirement Savings Board plans to roll out the OregonSaves pilot program beginning July 1. However, the U.S. House voted Feb. 15 to repeal a “safe harbor” rule that the U.S. Department of Labor issued last year that would require the board to re-address the federal issues. The resolution now moves to the U.S. Senate.

Related Content: Small Business News | Economy | Oregon

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