Private Pension Bill to Receive Public Hearing

(Madison)—State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) announced today that legislation that would make it possible for workers and employers in the private sector to access a private pension plan similar to what public employees and elected officials receive will receive a public hearing this Thursday, December 10th State Capitol.  Senate Bill 45 would create a pension plan for private workers, small businesses and farmers that would be based on the Wisconsin Retirement System.


“There is a retirement crisis in our country and Wisconsin is not immune.  It is estimated that there are nearly 1 million workers in Wisconsin who do not have a retirement plan or who have a plan that is underfunded.  Our plan will help people take control and responsibility for their own retirement security,” said Hansen.


The Wisconsin Private Secure Retirement Act was introduced earlier this year by Senator Hansen and State Representative Eric Genrich (D-Green Bay).  It would create a separate board and fund from the one that oversees the Wisconsin Retirement System, the pension fund for public employees and teachers.  However, the private board would be required to create a private plan as similar as possible to the WRS including providing a defined monthly benefit to plan participants.


“If we do not address this growing retirement crisis state taxpayers could be on the hook for providing increased public assistance to older residents who do not have enough savings to adequately cover their cost of living when they can no longer work,” Hansen said.  “By making it possible for workers in the private sector to have access to a plan similar that builds on the success of the WRS we can provide them with greater incentive to save for their own retirement.”


The State Investment Board would be responsible for investing and managing the fund and the Department of Employee Trust funds would be responsible for administering benefits.  The Board would be responsible for designing the plan after holding public hearings throughout the state to gather input from likely stakeholders.


“Our plan would put a simple, low-cost, low-risk retirement plan in reach of those who need it most.  Under our plan no one will have to be an expert money manager to know that they too can enjoy a secure retirement,” said Hansen.


The plan is supported by AARP Wisconsin. 


The public hearing will be held Thursday, December 10, 2015 at 11:30 AM in room 411 South of the State Capitol in Madison.