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Pennsylvania Treasurer issues recommendation for state-sponsored auto-IRA program

Pennsylvania should establish a state-sponsored automatic individual retirement account program, findings from a state task force suggest.

Pennsylvania should establish a state-sponsored automatic individual retirement account program, according to findings released Wednesday by the state treasurer's Private Sector Retirement Security Task Force.

"We have here in Pennsylvania, as we have around the country, a crisis of retirement security," said Pennsylvania state Treasurer Joe Torsella in a televised press conference announcing the release of the report. "Only 1 in 3 has a single dollar saved for retirement, and of those that do have something saved, (most) have far less than the professionals counsel us we will need."

The task force heard from experts, employers and other states that have already implemented a program to meet the needs of workers without a retirement savings option through several hearings.

"Pennsylvania should move with all deliberate speed to enact legislation authorizing the Treasury Department to create an auto-IRA program through which it can partner with private employers not currently offering any retirement savings opportunities to provide access to safe and inexpensive retirement savings products to their workers," the task force report said.

It added that any such program, which would be similar to 529 career and college savings accounts, would be administered by Treasury.

Mr. Torsella said at the press conference that although the auto-IRA accounts would initially require financial support for start-up costs, it ultimately would be self-funding.