KPBS, June 7, 2012
Half of all workers in California's private sector had access to a workplace retirement plan in the year 2000. A decade later it was forty-five percent. The data come from UC Berkeley's Center for Labor Research and Education.
Nari Rhee with the center said more than six million private sector workers in the state ages 25-64, eighty percent of whom work full time, have an employer who does not offer a retirement plan.
"About half of middle income workers in California are headed to retire with incomes below two hundred percent of the federal poverty level, which is about $22,000 a year and that's not enough to get by in California," said Rhee.
Rhee additionally claimed one solution is pooled accounts. Senate Bill 1234, a measure that would create a publicly sponsored, professionally managed retirement plan in California is currently in the state legislature. But the bill's opponents, such as Republican Senator Mimi Walters, said planning for retirement is a personal responsibility.
"The state of California has a pension crisis we're facing right now and to create another program and another mandate on business is not the answer," insisted Walters.
Senate Bill 1234 passed in the Senate last week and faces Assembly review next.