Wednesday, April 9, 2008

California Governor touts pension bill letting private sector join the state system.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger threw his political support to a new proposal to open the California Public Employees' Retirement System to private sector businesses and workers to encourage Californians to save more for retirement.

The proposal to open CalPERS to the private sector is contained in Assembly Bill 2940 by Assemblyman Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles.

AB 2940 would allow Californians whose employers don't offer retirement savings plans to put money into the California Employee Savings Program.

The retirement plan, unlike 401(k) plans, could be taken by the worker from job to job. If the plan is approved by the Internal Revenue Service, CalPERS would administer it with fees paid by the account holders, at no expense to taxpayers.

Several other states have considered similar programs. But de León's office said California would be the first to put one in place.

CalPERS spokesman Brad Pacheco said the retirement system learned about the bill just recently and is analyzing it. The CalPERS board normally votes to support or oppose legislation affecting the retirement system.

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