Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Payroll Savings Bill Debated

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Payroll Savings Bill Debated

Article excerpt

Despite opposition from a key business group, a bill that would require small businesses to set up and manage retirement savings accounts for employees will likely get legislative approval, New Jersey's Senate president said at a financial forum in East Rutherford on Friday.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney said the measure, which would require employers with 25 or more workers to offer payroll retirement savings accounts, would pass the Senate, but he couldn't say whether Governor Christie would sign it. The legislation passed the Assembly on Dec. 3.

Sweeney spoke at a conference titled the "Financial Security Summit," organized by the advocacy group AARP, which supports the bill. The event, attended by about 200 people, focused on factors affecting the financial health of retirees, such as the state's high property taxes, the estate tax, the fact that retirement income is taxed in New Jersey and the severe financial pressures that the state will face if workers don't save enough while working.

Sweeney said it isn't clear whether the proposal, known as Secure Choice Savings Program, will become law.

"The wild card is the governor," Sweeney said. "This is business being able to give a benefit without it really costing them anything. So you would hope that he would be supportive of that."

Christie's office declined to comment on the bill, since it still has to be approved.

Yet Michele N. Siekerka, president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, the Trenton-based trade group that is one of the largest business lobbyists in the state, took issue with the claim that the proposal would cost companies nothing.

"Everyone keeps saying there is no cost -- there is no such thing as a free mandate," Siekerka said. "Everything is devil in the details. ... Is there a cost for another deduction of another employee's paycheck? …

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