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Old 11-16-2014, 03:20 PM
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Mary Pat Campbell
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NY
Studying for duolingo and coursera
Favorite beer: Murphy's Irish Stout
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Public Advocate Letitia James called Wednesday for the creation of a pooled retirement system for private-sector employees who lack pensions.
Noting that nearly 60% of New York City workers lack a pension or 401(k), Ms. James said she would introduce a bill this month to create a seven-member pension advisory board to study the creation of a pooled retirement system for these employees.
"Every New Yorker must have access to a safe and secure pension by 2030," she said in a breakfast speech to the Association for a Better New York, a business advocacy group.
Even workers with pension plans are saving only 54% of the money they will need for retirement, Ms. James said. She cited a 2012 New School study that revealed a significant drop between 2001 and 2011 (to 41% from 49%) in the portion of New York City workers participating in a retirement plan at work. Only 12% of New Yorkers had a defined-benefit plan.
Ms. James's proposal is not new. Currently 16 states are pursuing legislation to expand their pension systems to private-sector workers. Researchers estimate that 75 million workers nationwide lack access to retirement plans. Democrats in Congress have proposed privately-run retirement funds on the national level.
The idea has also been floated by the Central Labor Council and Comptroller Scott Stringer, who helps manage the city's $160 billion, five-fund pension system for public workers. Last June, Mr. Stringer said he would create an advisory panel, to be led by Scott Evans, the recently named chief investment officer for the New York City pension funds, to explore ways to expand retirement plans for private workers. A spokesman for Mr. Stringer said the panel was still a work in progress.
The public advocate said she envisions a system for private employees that provides the generous benefits their counterparts in the public sector receive. But employers would have reason to reject such a plan: Independent analyses have found that the city's payroll costs ballooned to $37.2 billion in fiscal 2012 from $23.5 billion in fiscal 2003, largely because of soaring pension and health care costs.

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