Federal Legislative Action Alert

DISCLAIMER: The following does not represent the position of the Wisconsin SHRM State Council. However, we felt it important to make you aware of National SHRM’s advocacy alert so you can take action if you choose.

YOUR ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED! Representatives Richard Neal (D-MA) and Jim Gerlach (R-PA) will introduce a bi-partisan House Concurrent Resolution the week of November 21 that highlights the important role employer-sponsored pension plans play in helping Americans save and plan for retirement. Please call or email your representative and ask him/her to co-sponsor this measure!

Background

This summer, President Obama signed into law legislation that creates a bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Joint Select Committee on deficit reduction. The committee, known as the “Super Committee,” is charged with reducing the federal debt by at least $1.5 trillion during the next 10 years by looking at current spending and tax code policies. Because of their tax-deferred status, employer-provided benefits such as retirement and health care plans may come under scrutiny by the Super Committee.

Issue

Employer-provided retirement plans are a key component of our nation’s retirement system and produce significant retirement benefits for America’s working families. Together with Social Security and individual savings, employer-provided retirement plans produce significant retirement benefits for America’s working families. There are approximately 670,000 private-sector defined contribution plans covering 67 million participants and over 48,000 private-sector defined benefit plans covering 19 million participants.

Outlook

Employer-sponsored health care and retirement benefits, because of their tax-deferred status, create the largest annual loss in revenue to the federal treasury. As a result, it is anticipated that public policy efforts to reform the tax code and bring down the federal deficit will involve an examination of employer-sponsored benefits, including retirement plans, health care benefits and educational assistance programs. Given the large loss of revenue to the U.S. Treasury, employer-sponsored pension plans are an attractive revenue-raising target for Congress.

SHRM Position

SHRM believes that a comprehensive and flexible benefits package is an essential tool in recruiting and retaining talented employees. Every American employee should be provided the opportunity to save for retirement. The government should facilitate and encourage voluntary employer-sponsored plans, as well as individual savings through consistent tax incentives and simplified regulations.

SHRM supports the House Concurrent Resolution to be introduced by Rep. Neal and Rep. Gerlach. The resolution declares the benefits and importance of employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Legislation

The House Concurrent Resolution has not yet been introduced, and therefore, has yet to be assigned a number. However, the draft legislation has been sent to every member of the House of Representatives. Please ask your Representative to co-sponsor this measure prior to introduction! This measure states many important facts, most importantly:

The current tax incentives for retirement savings provide important benefits to Americans to help plan for a financially secure retirement;
There are approximately 670,000 private-sector defined contribution plans covering 67 million participants and over 48,000 private-sector defined benefit plans covering 19 million participants;
$4.7 trillion is held in 401(k), 403(b), 457 and similar defined contribution plans, $2.3 trillion is held in private defined benefit plans, and another $4.9 trillion is held in Individual Retirement Accounts, largely consisting of funds rolled over from employer-based retirement plans;
During 2000 through 2009, employers contributed almost $3.5 trillion to public and private retirement plans;
Tax incentives are an important impetus for individuals to save and plan for retirement and for employers to offer plans in a voluntary system.

Action Needed

SHRM needs your help to share the HR perspective with the House of Representatives on this important retirement issue.

To write your U.S. representative using SHRM’s HRVoice program, follow these steps:

1. Log onto the SHRM Advocacy Action Center by clicking HERE (SHRM Members only);

2. Please select the featured federal alert highlighted in blue and to the left by clicking the “Take action here” tab at the bottom of the alert; and,

3. Be sure to include your complete home mailing address.

For questions regarding this resolution, please contact Kathleen Coulombe, SHRM’s Senior Associate, Government Relations at kathleen.coulombe@shrm.org.

If you encounter any problems with this site, please contact David Lusk, SHRM’s Senior Associate, Member Advocacy, at 703-535-6158.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at http://www.shrm.org.

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