Governor Quinn Signs the Secure Choice Savings Program into Law

Chicago, IL — Governor Quinn signed the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program (SB2758) into law yesterday. The new program will give millions of private sector workers in our state the opportunity to save their own money for retirement by expanding access to employment-based retirement savings accounts.

SB2758, sponsored by Senator Daniel Biss and Representative Barbara Flynn Currie, will automatically enroll workers without access to an employment-based retirement plan into the Secure Choice program. While workers can opt-out of the program, those that do participate will be able to build savings in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) through a payroll deduction. All accounts are pooled together and professionally managed; ensuring that fees are low and investment performance is competitive.

“We think it will be a model for many, many other states,” Quinn said of the law. “Because one of the leading causes of worry for everyday people who are working hard, raising kids, doing the right thing, is how much money they will have when they pay their kids’ college tuition, when they’ve paid all their bills, will they have any money left for their retirement so they can live out their years in dignity.”

The new program will require businesses with 25 or more year-round employees, that have been in business for 2 or more years, and don’t currently offer a retirement savings option to offer the Secure Choice Program to its workers by June 2017.

“Illinois has taken a huge step forward in addressing a growing retirement crisis by giving Illinois residents the tools to save,” said Senator Biss. “The Secure Choice program will have a minimal impact on the state and participating businesses, but the effect for workers will be the difference between retiring with dignity and a retiring into poverty.”

More than 2.5 million workers do not have access to a retirement savings account through their employer, according to a report from the Woodstock Institute and IABG. The report found lack of access is most serious for low-wage workers, of whom 60 percent lack access, but even for workers making $40,000 or more, 49 percent do not have access to an employment-based retirement savings plan. In every Senate district in Illinois, over half of private-sector workers do not have access to this type of plan.

“The Secure Choice Savings Program will make it easy for Illinois workers to save without burdening employers or the state,” Representative Currie said. “This program can make a secure retirement a reality for hard working Illinoisans.”

The Illinois Asset Building Group (IABG), a project of Heartland Alliance, has been advocating with its partners for the passage of the Illinois Secure Choice Program. “Secure Choice is an innovative, simple program that makes saving for retirement easy for Illinois workers,” said Lucy Mullany, Coordinator of IABG and a Senior Project Manager with Heartland Alliance. “We thank Governor Quinn for signing this bill into and look forward to working with leaders to implement this new program.”

The Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program was supported by IABG, Heartland Alliance, Woodstock Institute, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, SEIU Healthcare, AARP Illinois, and over 60 organizations and businesses across the state.

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The Illinois Asset Building Group (IABG) is a statewide coalition committed to increasing access to the tools people need to build financially secure futures for themselves and their children. IABG’s work across issue areas includes examining barriers and solutions to the persistent racial wealth gap. IABG a project of Heartland Alliance. For more information, visit http://www.illinoisassetbuilding.org

Heartland Alliance – the leading anti-poverty organization in the Midwest – believes that all of us deserve the opportunity to improve our lives. Each year, we help ensure this opportunity for nearly one million people around the world who are homeless, living in poverty, or seeking safety. For more information, visit: http://www.heartlandalliance.org 

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