Rep. Witt E-News June 17, 2015

Volume 9 Number 17

Brad Witt

Newsletter June 17, 2015

Hello Friends,

Nearly two decades ago Oregon formed a Retirement Task Force to try and anticipate the consequences of the aging Baby Boomer population.  At the time, concerns about the long-term solvency of Social Security fueled that worry, but now we can add the loss of employer-sponsored pension plans, loss of home equity, wage stagnation and a low overall savings rate to the mixture.  The result is a retirement security crisis in the State of Oregon.  In order to try to deal with this crisis, the House passed HB 2960A last week, which creates a pathway for Oregonians to access a portable retirement savings account.

Traditionally, one of the best ways to create a retirement account was through the payroll deduction provided by the employer.  In recent years, this benefit has been eliminated for a host of reasons, including the burdens of administering a plan and the cost, especially for small business.  Presently, only 29% of Oregonians have a 401K account.  One in six Oregonians age 45-65 have less than $5,000 in retirement savings, and women, people of color, and employees of small businesses are more likely to be left out of the loop when it comes to a secure retirement.   So how do we go about providing an easy, effective, portable savings account for everyone who wants one?

HB 2960A establishes the Oregon Retirement Savings Board made up of investors, employers, workers and retirees within the Office of the State Treasurer.  It will be their task to create a savings plan that will meet the needs of a senior population that is expected to double in the next 20 years.  Current rates of seniors living in poverty is a wake-up call warning us that we need to do things differently, and if we don’t, the strain on public services will become unmanageable.  

Under HB 2960A, employers will be required to offer access to an employee retirement savings plan to those who do not already have one, and to facilitate this through a payroll deduction.  The employer will not need to contribute anything and the employee is free to opt out at any time after enrollment.  Ease of access is crucial, especially for part-time employees who may not qualify for any other investment plan.  And small businesses, who are less likely to offer a plan because of limited resources, will be relieved of complicated investment decisions. 

Between now and December, 2016, the Oregon Retirement Savings Board is tasked with developing an investment plan that will be available for implementation by June, 2017.  Clearly, one of the factors of success in this effort will be outreach to all Oregonians to impress upon them the importance of saving for retirement.  This needs to begin in our schools and continue through channels available in the workforce.  I really feel that HB 2960A is a great first step and I was happy to be able to support it.

Yours truly,

Representative Brad Witt
House District 31

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Join me this Friday!  Share your ideas, concerns and thoughts about the 2015 Legislative Session.

Friday June 19

4:00 - 6:00pm

Black Bear Coffee & Pub

831 Bridge St. Vernonia, OR


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Thank you St Helens Kiwanis!

The local Kiwanis club helps our neighbors with food baskets, gives books to children and keeps our community clean and welcoming through service projects.  They also host some of the most fun community events!

This Saturday is the community parade.

Hope to see you there!

scappoose summerfest

email: I phone: 503-986-1431
address: 900 Court St NE, H-374, Salem, OR, 97301