A GOOGLE HANGOUT: Discussing the Retirement Security Act

The data is clear: Americans do a poor job of saving for retirement, especially if they are in jobs without a payroll savings plan.

In a Google Hangout video hosted by the Connecticut Mirror and sponsored by AARP Connecticut, we chat with Comptroller Kevin Lembo and Sarah Gill, a retirement security expert, about a proposal to put the state of Connecticut in the retirement savings business for private-sector workers. The host is Capitol Bureau Chief Mark Pazniokas.

Business groups have lobbied hard against the proposal, H.B. 5591, though Lembo says opposition softens when small employers go deeper. Gill says the program would be “plug and play,” something an employer could offer to workers at little or no cost.

Workers with several part-time jobs could funnel savings into one Roth IRA, and Lembo says the savings plan would be portable. The securities industry complains this would put the state in competition with it. Lembo says the state plan would serve workers not in the market.

Still, the comptroller concedes the plan is meant to be disruptive, albeit in a constructive way. Gill says other states are looking at similar plans to serve workers who are looking at trying to get by on Social Security in retirement.

It may be a heavy lift at the General Assembly this year, when legislators are especially sensitive to the concerns of business. But the backers include House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz.

If you want to know how it would work, give a look and listen.

About Mark Pazniokas

Mark, a winner of numerous journalist awards, is the former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and a former contributing writer for The New York Times. In more than 30 years as a reporter, he has covered some of the most compelling stories in the state, including the impeachment inquiry and resignation of Gov. John G. Rowland in 2004 and the nationally watched Senate race won by Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman as an independent in 2006. Mark is a graduate of Boston University. E-mail him at mpazniokas@ctmirror.org.