RELEASE: Senator Kevin de Leόn’s Address on Retirement Security to the National Academy of Social Insurance at the National Press Club

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

SACRAMENTO – Senator Kevin de Leόn (D-Los Angeles) today made the following remarks in his address to the National Academy of Social Insurance, Annual Policy Research Conference, at the National Press Club, via webcast.

“I am pleased to finally see national attention to the plight of millions of working Americans who have no pensions.  Listening to the President’s State of the Union last night, it’s promising that he is directing the Treasury to tackle this issue.

We know that millions of workers across the nation are destined to fall into poverty in their retirement years if we fail to act.

For the states, the fate will be a tidal wave of rising caseloads, and further strain on our already-frayed safety net.  We simply won’t be able to afford this—in California, we’re only now recovering from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

As the summary of this roundtable highlights:  no action is on the horizon in Washington,  at least on Capitol Hill, and now individual states are moving forward with their own plans to expand retirement income opportunities to keep millions of workers from falling into poverty.

What we need is a game-changer, and I believe that making California Secure Choice a reality will be that game-changer.  And hopefully, as we get our program on-line, it will be a blueprint for other states to follow.”

Senator De Leόn’s remarks refer to the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Trust Act, SB 1234, (De Leόn) enacted in September 2012, to establish the first-in- the-nation retirement savings program for millions of private sector workers who lack access to retirement savings plans through their jobs.

Secure Choice will be the only state-administered retirement program of its kind in the nation to provide a supplement to Social Security that helps workers enter retirement on stronger financial footing.  An estimated 6.3 million private-sector California workers have no access to employer-sponsored retirement plans.

The Secure Choice initiative has generated widespread interest.  More than 22 financial service companies, non-profits and industry and trade associations have provided advice to the Secure Choice Board about how to structure and implement the proposed program.  They include:  Prudential, TIAA-CREF, the New America Foundation, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, the California Chamber of Commerce and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.