Illinois enters retirement savings biz, critics question state’s money-managing skills (Illinois Watchdog)

By Mark Fitton

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois businesses with 25 or more workers may soon be compelled to offer employees access to an IRA retirement savings plans if they aren’t offering 401(k) plans.

The Illinois Secure Choice Saving Program, now awaiting the signature of Gov. Pat Quinn, would require employers to withhold 3 percent from each employee’s paycheck.

The money would go into an IRA for each employee.

The employers wouldn’t have to select individual IRA products and managers themselves. Instead, a firm selected by a state board would handle those tasks.

The oversight board would include the state treasurer, state comptroller, the head of the state’s nonpartisan budget office and four gubernatorial appointees.

While employees will be presented investment choices and may opt out, each employee who wants to keep the 3 percent in his or her paycheck would have to initiate that option.

The measure was sponsored by state Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston and state Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, and passed largely along party line votes.

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