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VA Examining State Retirement Plans for Private Employers

Virginia's General Assembly will consider launching a state-based retirement plan after a study concludes in December. (Adobe stock)
Virginia's General Assembly will consider launching a state-based retirement plan after a study concludes in December. (Adobe stock)
February 27, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. -- A little-known bill is passing through the Virginia state Senate that aims to help more Virginians save for retirement.

The Work and Save Bill was amended to be a study bill to determine if it's feasible to establish a state-based retirement system for private employers, according to Natalie Snider, associate state director of advocacy for AARP Virginia.

Snider says doing a study puts the brakes on implementing a plan sooner, but it's an important step.

"The reason that we're supporting it is because whether it's a study, whether we go ahead and implement the plan, those 1.2 million Virginians that don't have access to retirement savings, if we don't do anything, they still won't have any access," she points out.

The bill already has passed through the General Assembly's Senate Finance Committee and is expected to pass the full Senate within the next week.

Mary Morris is the CEO of Virginia529, which manages the state's college savings plan. Her company has been tapped to lead the study and she notes that the first step will be to examine three retirement plans in use across the country: an auto IRA, where you're automatically enrolled through your employer; 401k programs; and a retirement marketplace that Washington state operates.

"We'll provide the report and recommendations by Dec. 15, and then that way it will go through the process," she states. "And if someone wants to take up that information and do something with it, then that'll be up to the General Assembly."

Nearly half of the American workforce doesn't have the option to save for retirement at work.

However, about 30 states are considering workplace retirement savings plans for small business employees. Nine states already have enacted legislation, including California, Illinois and Maryland.

Disclosure: AARP Virginia contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Diane Bernard, Public News Service - VA