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State Retirement Fund At Risk Under Republican Congress

LM Otero
Freshly cut stacks of $100 bills make their way down the line at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing Western Currency Facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

In Connecticut a state-run retirement fund for private sector workers is scheduled to begin next January. But it might be in jeopardy due to a Congressional rollback of an Obama-era labor rule. The rule had allowed for the creation of state-run retirement plans for private sector workers whose employers don’t provide such plans.

Connecticut is one of several states to have taken advantage the rule. The Democratic-controlled State Legislature passed a law creating such a retirement plan last year. State Senate President Martin Looney, a New Haven Democrat, says that’s now in jeopardy because of recent action in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a number of financial firms that oppose such state-run retirement plans have undue influence with the U.S. House of Representatives in the new Trump era, and last week they passed a bill that would overturn the regulation.”

Connecticut House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, a Berlin Democrat, says U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy need to be urged to do what they can to stop the bill in the Senate.

“So I’m asking the residents of the State of Connecticut to call their senators. To remind them that retirement security is not something that we need to be fiscally sound here in the State of Connecticut but what our residents deserve. I’m very disappointed so far in the Congress.”

Connecticut’s retirement security program would allow private sector workers to put away three percent of their income towards retirement.  

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.