Hansen/Genrich Private Pension Plan Receives Senate Hearing

Local lawmakers urge committee to address looming retirement crisis


(Madison)—Legislation that would create a pension plan for private workers and business owners similar to the popular Wisconsin Retirement System received a public hearing before the Senate Committee on Labor and Government Reform today.  The plan is being offered as a way to address a looming retirement crisis that could see more retirees living in poverty and having to rely on government assistance to help pay for basic needs.


“It is my hope that today’s hearing can begin the much-needed discussion about how we can best address the looming retirement crisis.  Our plan will help people better meet their personal responsibility to save for their future so they can live a fuller, more enjoyable retirement in a way that does not require the assistance of state taxpayers,” said author Senator Hansen, testifying before the Committee.


Research by AARP Wisconsin shows that nearly 930,000 Wisconsin workers do not have an employer-provided retirement plan.  Additional research shows that state’s population growing much older over the next 30 years.  The number of people 65 and older is projected to nearly double over the next 30 years and the number of people 85 and older will skyrocket 142% to 287,000.  During that same time the number of people under 17, however, is expected to grow by only 2%, and those between 18 and 45 by less than half a percent.


“Economic prosperity is impossible without financial opportunity and security.  All Wisconsinites—farmers, small business owners and the self-employed—deserve access to a safe secure retirement option.  This legislation offers just that, and I hope you will join us in advancing this effort,” said Genrich in written testimony to the committee.


SB-45, the Wisconsin Private Secure Retirement Plan, would create a private pension board that would be called upon to design a private plan separate from but similar to the popular public Wisconsin Retirement System.  The State Investment Board would manage the fund and the Department of Employee Trust Funds would administer retirement benefits. 


“People will be able to access a plan similar to the kind that public employees and elected officials have.  They will be able to contribute on their own so they can take their plan with them when they change jobs knowing that they will have a steady income for retirement,” Hansen said.


The bill is supported by AARP Wisconsin.