House passes retirement savings bill, 2474


Rep. Springer’s bill would set up a retirement account for private sector employees


After a lifetime of hard work, the dream of retirement is still out of reach for many of us. The statistics are alarming. Due to time and cost barriers 78 percent of Washington businesses are not able to offer retirement savings plans to their employees. And furthermore, the average American has only $3,000 saved for retirement. 


Today, after a heated debate, in a 54-43 vote the House passed HB 2474, Save Towards a Retirement Today (STaRT).


On the House Floor, Rep. Larry Springer said, “We have a crisis on our hands. Three out of every four Washingtonians is expected to outlive their retirement savings. And for every worker who runs out of savings, that is one more grandparent living in poverty. Every dollar we spend on housing and food support for older adults is one less dollar we can spend on education and public safety.”


STaRT will create a voluntary, retirement savings account for small business owners and their employees, operated by the Washington State Investment Board.  Employers are not required to contribute; there is no minimum contribution for employees, and the account is portable, meaning if employees change jobs, they can keep their savings.


“I am a small business owner,” said Rep. Springer.  “I would love to offer a retirement savings plan to my employees but I cannot afford the start-up and maintenance costs or the time commitment. STaRT is a commonsense solution about opportunity - the opportunity for all of us to save, regardless of whether we work for Google or a small grocery store and whether we can contribute $20 a month or $200.”


According to the Small Business Majority, two-thirds of small business owners in Washington support this bill. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.