SCEPA's State GRA Proposal Highlighted in the State of the City Address

Comptroller at PodiumOn February 16, 2012, New York City Comptroller John C. Liu gave a State of the City address at the City College of New York to lay out his vision for the future of the city. His speech, titled, "Bridging the Great Divide," highlighted retirement security as an issue that needs attention from our city leaders and residents and cited the work of SCEPA director Teresa Ghilarducci and her research team. The speech was covered by NY1, The Observer, and The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC radio. Below is an excerpt of the speech or, you can watch the full video on the Comptroller's website.

"We partnered with a renowned expert on pension and retirement issues at The New School, Dr. Teresa Ghilarducci, who is here with us today. Teresa and her staff did outstanding work for us, in a report called "Are New Yorkers Ready for Retirement?"—and the answer to that question, by the way, is unfortunately a resounding no....

Dr. Ghilarducci has been advancing the concept of Personal Retirement Accounts for private sector workers. For employers who choose to participate, the program would pool employee and employer contributions into a professionally managed retirement fund, one that can leverage economies of scale and offer portable, efficient, low-cost pension benefits. Studies have shown that when offered the chance, workers will participate in retirement plans with their own contributions....

Dr. Ghilarducci's proposal is to have the same staff that manages the New York City pension funds oversee a fund for private workers. This fund would leverage the expertise of the Asset Management Bureau, but the money it invests would be wholly provided—not by taxpayers—but by participating employers and their employees.

This idea, by the way, is now being considered by the California legislature. What a shame it would be if a great idea, homegrown here in New York City, was launched elsewhere first. Let's not forget that Frances Perkins, the driving force behind Social Security, worked in New York State government before she became FDR's Secretary of Labor and the first woman cabinet member. Who knows? Bigger things may lay ahead for Dr. Ghilarducci."

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