Ensuring a Secure Financial Future

(April 13) – The Colorado Secure Savings Plan—a bill by Reps. Brittany Pettersen and Janet Buckner to allow Colorado workers to save a portion of their wages for retirement—earned approval from the House Business Affairs & Labor Committee this afternoon.

“Almost half of private-sector workers do not have access to the easiest and best way to save for retirement: a workplace plan,” said Rep. Pettersen, D-Lakewood. “Everyone agrees that America faces a retirement crisis—people are not saving enough. I know that I’ve worked many low-wage jobs in my life—cleaning houses, waiting tables, working in retail—where I never had access to a workplace plan. This plan creates an option for Coloradans to save a little at a time throughout their life for a secure retirement.”

“I know people who are my age who still don’t have enough savings to retire,” said Rep. Buckner, D-Aurora. “Unless we act, we don’t know how long our kids, nieces and nephews are going to have to work before they can finally retire. This plan is practical, it’s straightforward, and it’s a commonsense approach to increase the number of Coloradans who have access to workplace retirement accounts, the best way to save for retirement.”

The Colorado Secure Savings Plan, HB17-1290, creates a board of trustees to develop a plan for a public-private partnership that would offer a low-fee Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to employees without access to workplace plans. The board would then send the legislature its recommendations for final approval and the creation of the Colorado Secure Savings Plan.

As amended, the plan puts in place additional protections for businesses: it does not apply to workers who have worked less than 120 days and directs the board to establish a warning system for businesses so that they are not penalized unnecessarily.

“We worked with small businesses to streamline this plan and make sure this is a benefit, not a burden on employers,” said Rep. Pettersen.

Several small business owners spoke in favor of the bill, testifying that they would like to be able to offer this benefit to their employees. Five other states are in the process of implementing similar plans.

The 7-6 vote sends the bill to the House floor.

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