Evers asks Godlewski to head new Retirement Security Task Force

Governor Tony Evers has formed the Retirement Security Task Force, and announced that State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski would lead the effort.

In a news release, Godlewski said, like citizens nationwide, Wisconsinites are not saving enough for retirement and that an estimated 400,000 Wisconsinites are at risk of retiring in poverty by 2030. The task force, she said, will “identify effective and achievable solutions that will provide an opportunity for all Wisconsinites to save that is separate from the WRS (Wisconsin Retirement System).”

Below is State Treasurer Godlewski’s overview:

Why a Retirement Security Task Force? 

Wisconsin’s growing elderly population is ahead of the national trend. By 2030, there will be a projected 60% increase in the number of people age 65+. Further, Wisconsinites are not set-up for success. The typical working-age household has less than $3,000 in retirement savings. It’s not that Wisconsinites don’t want to save, it’s that they have been living under economic conditions that have made saving either impossible or inaccessible. Recently, AARP of Wisconsin did a study that identified 1 in 7 registered voters in Wisconsin have no way to save for retirement at work. Yet, 82% would take advantage if a savings program for retirement was available. The Governor and Treasurer believe hard-working Wisconsinites deserve to have peace of mind and feel secure when they retire. 

Financial Risk if No Action is Taken to Address the Retirement Crisis. 

The long-term financial health of Wisconsin is at risk if no action is taken. Projected expenditures on senior programs (i.e. Medicaid, Homestead Tax Credit, Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program and Supplemental Security Income) are estimated to be $4.7 billion annually by 2030 an increase of $3.5 billion from 2015. With the cost of living increasing and retirement savings decreasing, it is estimated that 400,000 Wisconsinites are at risk of retiring in poverty by 2030. If lower and moderate income households (up to $40,000/year) were to save 3% of their income through 2030, state expenditures in 2030 may decrease by $3.1 billion annually. 

Why should Public Employees care? 

Public employees work hard and deserve to retire in a financially secure manner. There is a misperception that state employees, to include public educators, have an unfair advantage with savings through the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS). That said, what the Governor and Treasurer are proposing with this Task Force is to identify effective and achievable solutions that will provide an opportunity for all Wisconsinites to save that is separate from the WRS. 

For more information about the Retirement Security Task Force, please reach out to the State Treasurer’s Office at treasurer@wisconsin.gov or 608-266-1714.

Legislative Update

In other legislative action this week, the Senate and Assembly Committees on Education held a joint public hearing Thursday on a series of bills created as a result of the Legislature’s Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding. To see the full slate and email the Senate and Education committees, click here. WEAC has not taken a formal position on the bills, having no opposition to the proposals.

To contact your elected officials on any issue, use the “Find Your Legislators” link at www.weac.org/take-action. For more information to get even more involved, email Christina Brey, WEAC Public Affairs.

Bills We’re Watching
See all the bills we’re watching at www.weac.org/bills.

Retirement Security forums being held throughout the state

The Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans, in coalition with many groups, is presenting information about Retirement Security at a series of forums throughout Wisconsin.

Medicare, Social Security, the Wisconsin Retirement System, Private Sector Pensions and Retirement Savings Accounts are sure to be at the forefront of political attacks over the coming years. It is imperative that we become educated and organize to protect our collective interests.

The alliance is working with the WI State AFL-CIO, area labor councils, the Wisconsin Coalition for Retirement Security, and Protect Our Wisconsin Retirement Security to educate and mobilize retirees across the state to protect and expand the ability to retire with dignity. WEAC is a partner with the Wisconsin Coalition for Retirement Security.

Please see the schedule below and let your friends and neighbors know about these events. More dates and locations will be added to the list below. If you would like a forum in your area, please reach out to the alliance Executive Director, Greg Neil at 608-556-9521 or exec.dir@wi-alliance.org.
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Private retirement system modeled after WRS would help Wisconsin citizens build secure futures, Kippers testifies

TrustFund_250pxCreation of a Wisconsin Private Retirement Security Board modeled after the highly successful Wisconsin Retirement System for public employees would help build a more financially secure future for Wisconsinites, “which means less reliance on social programs, a stronger economy and a more vibrant Wisconsin,” WEAC President Betsy Kippers said Thursday in testimony before a Senate committee.

Kippers spoke in support of Senate Bill 45, which would create the private retirement board and provide for the State of Wisconsin Investment Board to assist the board in managing and investing the assets of the fund and the assets of the accounts of participants in the plan and provide for the ETF board to assist the board in administering the plan.

“Senate Bill 45 would deliver a uniquely Wisconsin product.  It applies lessons learned from our successful Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) to create retirement options for private sector employees, leading to greater financial independence for Wisconsinites,” she told the Senate Committee on Labor and Government Reform.

“Why should the Wisconsin Retirement System serve as a model for a private retirement security option?” Kippers asked. “In answering this question, I am reminded of the lyrics to a hit song recorded by Tina Turner.  It’s because the WRS is ‘simply the best, better than all the rest,’ as the song goes. Wisconsin can take pride that the WRS is one of the best managed and funded systems in the nation. In short, the WRS is working for Wisconsin, to which the educators across the state can attest. And with this bill, the WRS can serve as a model.”

Read Betsy Kippers’ entire testimony:

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