Alexander Calls For Best Ideas On “Simple Plan For Voluntary Savings That Employers Would Be More Likely To Adopt”

Thursday, January 31, 2013

At a hearing Thursday of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on retirement savings, ranking member Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.), asked four expert witnesses to “start from scratch” and offer the committee a simple plan for voluntary savings that employers would be more likely to adopt.

“Because of the problems of complexity, legalese, and liability, there seem to be plenty of opportunities to make it easier for employees to choose plans to adequately save for their retirements,” Senator Alexander said. 

Senator Alexander suggested that the plan include automatic enrollment and automatic increases in levels of savings in order to increase the amount of money that employees would have for their retirement – in a case of automatic enrollment or increase the employee would immediately be able to opt-out of the contribution if the employee chose to do so, for whatever reason.

He said that Social Security and the current number of private savings plans are not going to be enough to provide adequate retirement for many Americans --- just 68 percent of private-sector workers are employed at establishments that offer one or more retirement plans, according to the National Compensation Survey from March 2012.

“More and more Americans are becoming independent contractors or part-time employees and are not working for a company that will offer the plans,” he said.

He cautioned against new mandates on businesses saying, “small businesses are struggling with the cost of the health care law and cannot tolerate any new mandates to provide automatic savings accounts.”

Providing an example at the hearing, Senator Alexander said he recently met with a franchise group that owns nearly 20 fast food restaurants. The company, which has 542 full-time employees, faces 6.2 percent Social Security and Medicare taxes for each employee, a menu labeling mandate that costs $1,000 per restaurant, minimum wage mandates that cost nearly $25,000 a year, and paid sick leave mandates.

The health-care mandates will increase their costs: “They tell me they offer health care to all of their 542 employees but only 34 take it. If nothing changed next year—that is, if the health care law didn’t come into effect—they would still be spending more than $94,000 in health care. Under the health care law, if they opt to pay the penalty, they’ll be spending $1 million, instead of $94,000. That exceeds their entire net profit for the year 2013. If they were to decide to continue to offer health care, their costs would be between $400,000 and $1.4 million. You could apply the same sort of reasoning and statistics to a smaller company and come out with a similar result.”

 


EPB Fiber Optics Named One Of Best Gaming ISPs In Nation

EPB Fiber Optics has been named the winner as the best gaming ISP for quality in the United States by PC Magazine.  Officials said it’s not so much speed, as it is latency such as connection quality and reliability. EPB Fiber Optics was rated against Verizon Fios, Google Fiber, Metrocast and others.  (click for more)

Justice Cornelia Clark Keynotes Drug Court Conference

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia Clark was the keynote speaker at the Tennessee Association of Drug Court Professionals Conference in Chattanooga, held Wednesday through Friday.  Justice Clark noted many highlights in the last four years of the program, including the name change from drug court to recovery courts to reflect broader services being provided to meet ... (click for more)

City Administrator Lurone Jennings Suspended For Misallocation Of Funds

Rev. Lurone Jennings, administrator of City Youth and Family Development, has been suspended for one week for misallocation of funds. He also is to be issued a letter of reprimand and will undergo ethics training. The action came after a critical audit report from City Auditor Stan Sewell. It says Mr. Jennings transferred $18,500 of funds to a program, Journey Educational ... (click for more)

New Walker County Commissioner Whitfield To Move Public Meetings To Evenings And To Larger Venue; Will Also Be Listening Sessions

Walker County Sole Commissioner-Elect Shannon Whitfield said there will be a new arrangement for holding of public commissioner sessions when he takes place at the start of January. Current Commissioner Bebe Heiskell has held Thursday meetings at 3:30 p.m. from time to time in a conference room at her office near the Walker County Courthouse in LaFayette. Mr. Whitfield said those ... (click for more)

Roy Couldn't Possibly Be More Wrong - And Response (5)

Spreading false information isn't only harmful, as we've been made aware recently. The spread of false information can be outright dangerous.   Calling himself a Christian and all, Roy truly disappoints on so many levels with his recently opinion piece about black students attending predominately white schools being the cause of so much problems and grief at those schools. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Facebook Starlet

The Pants Store, a toney women’s boutique in Birmingham’s Mountain Book community, held its annual Holiday Open House about a week or so and, as usual, the popular store was full of customers and holiday cheer. It was a festive gathering, fun for all, but as store employees cleaned up for the next day, they happened across an empty designer-shoe box and a brassiere somebody had ... (click for more)