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Council members Miller and Kallos (left, seated). Photo credit: Samar Khurshid

New York, NY — On Monday, September 23, 2019, members of the City Council Progressive Caucus, led by Caucus Member and Co-Chair of the Black Latino Asian Caucus, Daneek Miller, and Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Ben Kallos, held a hearing for Intro 888 after joining Mayor Bill de Blasio to rally for retirement security for all. The hearing, chaired by Council Civil Service and Labor Committee Chair Daneek Miller, focused on legislation introduced by Council Members Kallos and Miller, establishing an individual retirement account program for the City’s 3.5 million private-sector workers. Starting in 2021, the program would provide employees over the age of 21 at businesses with 10 or more employees a personal IRA under the legislation, Introduction 888.

The legislation is formally supported by the Progressive Caucus and will be pushed through the Caucus’ legislative agenda for this Council session. The program would benefit the 57% of New Yorkers who do not have access to a retirement plan, according to Mayor de Blasio. Participating workers contribute to their IRA via payroll deduction, at a default rate of 3% or a rate of their choice; the City and private employers do not contribute. Workers employed at a business with more than 10 employees that do not already offer retirement plans are automatically enrolled, while employees of businesses with fewer than 10 employees may opt in.

“Every New Yorker should be able to save for retirement. It’s hard to imagine that Republicans are all of a sudden against Americans taking ‘personal responsibility,’ but stopping retirement savings for all was at the top of the Trump administration’s list in 2017 and even passed the Republican Congress,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus, Prime Sponsor of I. 888. Council Member Kallos is an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) attorney. “Thank you to Mayor Bill de Blasio for taking this bold step to help millions of New Yorkers save for retirement. I can’t wait to help millions of New Yorkers save for retirement and upset the Trump agenda all at the same time.”

“Fulfilling the goal of retirement is fast becoming a lost tradition in America,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller, Chair of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor, Co-Chair of the Black Latino Asian Caucus, Member of Progressive Caucus, Co-Sponsor of I. 888. “People are working desperately to keep pace with ever-increasing living costs, but lack the means or direction to avoid falling into poverty in their later years. Our legislation will help more than half of the working New Yorkers who are currently without a savings plan set aside a portion of their earnings so they can lay a foundation for a stable future, and particularly benefit communities of color who saw their average household wealth plummet for over three decades. I thank Mayor de Blasio for embracing this bold proposal. Council Member Kallos and I look forward to working with him and fellow advocates to make Retirement Security for All New Yorkers a reality.”

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