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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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MN Looks to Reverse Trend of Disappearing Retirement Plans

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Wednesday, March 1, 2023   

This week, a Minnesota Senate committee will consider a plan supporters said would make it easier for workers at small businesses to have retirement savings plans.

The bill follows concerns about a growing savings gap. The Minnesota Secure Choice Retirement Act would offer an automatic payroll deduction, with the collected retirement funds managed by a state board. Workers would have the option to be enrolled, and no employer contributions would be needed.

Cathy McLeer, state director of AARP Minnesota, which supports the proposal, said it would help those without a nest egg take control of their financial outlook as they age.

"We know that there've been declines and employer-sponsored pensions," McLeer pointed out. "We know that a lack of savings really impacts a person's ability to achieve that secure retirement."

AARP said nearly one-third of Minnesota workers do not have access to a retirement plan through their job. And more than 42% of Minnesota retirees rely on Social Security for half their income.

The proposal has been floated before. It is unclear how far it might go this session. Opposition in other states has centered around the impact on private-sector plan providers.

Bill supporters say this also can make small businesses more competitive, eliminating the costs to set up a retirement plan for staff.

Erik Forsberg, president and CEO of Overlord Hospitality, which operates a handful of restaurants in the Twin Cities, said it might result in not having to put so much time and energy into recruiting and retaining workers.

"Hiring and training and going through all that is expensive, in any industry," Forsberg observed. "When you get into our industry, and there's so much turnover, it can really add up."

Forsberg added many people can make a career in the hospitality sector, but have to weigh a lot of outside factors. He thinks putting retirement savings on their radar would be a huge plus.

"They have to focus on things like transportation and child care, but when it comes to actually planning for your future, that's not usually a part of their conversation," Forsberg explained.

Disclosure: AARP Minnesota contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Consumer Issues, Health Issues, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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