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Senate tax group keys in on possible retirement savings measures

Bipartisan members of the Senate Finance Committee laying the groundwork for possible tax reform submitted reports Wednesday, including one on savings and investment.

The Savings and Investment Working Group focused on three key goals for policymakers to consider: increasing access to tax deferred retirement savings, increasing participation rates and savings levels, and discouraging leakage. Group members did not endorse specific proposals.

Among the proposals cited in the report were enabling the formation of multiple employer plans, creating safe harbors for small businesses to offer retirement plans, allowing part-time workers to enroll in plans, making benefits more portable and addressing leakage. The group also called for clarifying rules for church-sponsored retirement plans.

“The recommendations are important because they reflect areas in which members were able to come together and reach bipartisan consensus,” said Michael Kreps, a principal with Groom Law Group in Washington and formerly a senior aide on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. “Although Congress is a long way from passing comprehensive tax reform, the recommendations give an aura of credibility to a handful of policy proposals that already have support from many members in the Senate and the House.”

“We applaud the efforts of the working group members for their strong support of the role of the employer in providing benefits and the voluntary nature of the system,” said Kathryn Ricard, ERISA Industry Committee senior vice president for retirement policy.