Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez Announces Inclusion of Landmark Retirement Savings Program in Proposed Executive Budget

January 18, 2018

To help stave the impending retirement crisis, Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal includes the Secure Choice Savings Program, legislation that would allow the State of New York to administer retirement savings plans to employees who are employed at companies and organizations that do not offer savings programs to their workers. The Secure Choice Savings Program Act (A4982B/S4344) has intense bipartisan support in the state legislature since introduced by lead sponsor Assembly Member Robert J. Rodriguez, who represents East Harlem, and in the Senate by Senator Diane Savino, with 85 cosponsors in the state Assembly and 18 sponsors in the state Senate.

Similar programs have been enacted in 12 other states including California, Illinois, and Oregon, effectively expanding enrollment in retirement plans at low cost. In New York today, more than half of those under age 64 working in the private sector, or over 3.5 million New Yorkers lack access to any retirement savings plan in the workplace. Less than half of businesses in New York with less than 50 employees offer no retirement plan at all. Further, studies show that the majority of Americans nearing retirement have less than $12,000 saved for retirement, yet Social Security alone provides only an average of $15,600 a year in benefits. The compounding crisis crosses all income and ethnic groups and education levels: sixty-seven percent of Hispanic and fifty-two percent of African American workers lack access to any kind of structured plans.

“We have been working alongside advocate groups, retirement security experts, and policy makers to tackle the retirement savings crisis. I applaud the Governor for taking this issue head on by including it in this year’s budget proposal. Secure Choice will give New Yorkers access to a quality retirement savings plan, allowing employees to enroll in a savings program to safeguard their economic stability,” said Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez.

“I have fought for workers’ rights and benefits including minimum wage, domestic workers bill of rights, wage theft, transportation workers fair play act and secure retirement for all workers. My goal is simple, to make it easier for workers to retire and for retirees to be less of a burden on government resources. Which is why over the past few sessions I have carried the New York Secure Choice Retirement bill,” said State Senator Diane Savino. “American private-sector workers need a new choice that provides a secure yet flexible retirement program. Most individuals need to save more for retirement. Millions of people are not currently saving enough to allow for a secure retirement. These people are forced to work longer before retirement, experience a less-than-reasonable quality of life during retirement, or become dependent on public safety-net programs. I applaud Governor Cuomo for including the New York Secure Choice Savings Program in his Executive Budget and look forward to working with him and Assemblyman Rodriquez to see this enacted into law.”