UMass Boston News

Massachusetts Initiative to Expand Private Pension Coverage

Betty Pasley, State Initiative Coordinator for Pension Action Center | January 11, 2012


The Pension Action Center of the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at UMass Boston has embarked on an initiative to expand pension or workplace saving options in the private sector by looking at what individual states can do to encourage pension coverage.

By bringing together key players from business, labor, government, academia, and the financial sector, the center will explore a variety of proposals that have been developed nationally. Proposals include having the Commonwealth of Massachusetts sponsor a plan for small business employees, having the Commonwealth guarantee small business plans, and other retirement saving incentives, such as supports for low to moderate-income workers to complement asset building.

Massachusetts State Treasurer Steve Grossman has expressed interest in exploring options open to the state. He supports legislation, H3754, which will allow the Commonwealth to provide retirement options for nonprofit organizations that don’t currently offer a plan. Passage of this bill could be a great model for expanding private pension coverage for small businesses.

In October, Ellen Bruce, director of the Pension Action Center, formed a working committee to explore building a coalition to expand private sector coverage in the state. Core group members include: Noah Berger, President, Massachusetts Budget & Policy Center; Steve Crosby, Dean, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston; John Kimpel, Retired, former Deputy General Counsel and Senior Vice President at Fidelity Investments; Dave Magnani, Past President, Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, and former State Senator; Christian Weller, Associate Professor, Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs, University of Massachusetts Boston and Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress.

The group’s next step is to convene an invitational roundtable in Boston in early 2012 to bring in key national and local figures to discuss how state governments can encourage the expansion of employer-based retirement plans.

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