In the final hours of the 2013 legislative session, a bill that would have created a task force to study the implementation of a private-sector pension system got stuck in committee.
But supporters will likely study the topic on their own this summer and return with new legislation next year, according to Del. Tom Hucker, D-Montgomery, who championed the legislation in the House of Delegates.
Senate Bill 1051, sponsored by Sen. James C. Rosapepe, D-Prince George’s and Anne Arundel, and Sen. Verna L. Jones-Rodwell, D-Baltimore, originally would have invited businesses to join an independently operated pension fund for the private sector.
Supporters cited the bill as necessary to support an aging population while businesses feel it is an unnecessary intrusion.
Hucke withdrew his own version of the bill earlier in the session after a House subcommittee gave an unfavorable report. Hucker’s bill, which allowed for businesses to opt-in to this pension program, was modeled on a similar bill in California.
“I think this is a really serious problem we need to address,” Hucker said. “It’s a new, complicated topic.”
A change is necessary, Hucker said, due to increased anxiety by retirees and soon-to-be retirees, many of whom cannot afford to stop working. A study by the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis noted four in 10 Maryland workers did not have access to a retirement plan at work.
“I think it’s a real service to small businesses who are interested in having a retirement plan,” Hucker said about the program, adding that it would not cost businesses.
Even without the task force, Hucker plans on studying this topic over the summer, talking to businesses and lawmakers about redrafting legislation for next year’s session.