Mayor Bill de Blasio today refloated a plan that would have the city manage Individual Retirement Account (IRA) for private sector workers.

    Under the initiative, the mayor will work with the City Council to pass legislation in 2019 that requires all employers with at least five employees to either offer access to a retirement plan or auto-enroll their employees in the city plan.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers his sixth State of the City address at the Symphony Space in Manhattan on Thursday, January 10, 2017. Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

    “Fewer than half of all working New Yorkers have access to a plan that can help them save for their retirement years and 40 percent of New Yorkers between the ages of 50-64 have less than $10,000 saved for retirement,” said de Blasio during his annual State of the City Address at Symphony Space in Manhattan,. “These people are mostly lower-income and disproportionately female and people of color. This reality is neither acceptable nor sustainable for the future of this City.”

    If the plan sounded like deja vu all over again to many in the audience they weren’t hearing things. De Blasio presented virtually the same idea two years ago in his 2016 State of the City address.

    State Attorney General Letitia James

    The idea is actually a rehash of legislation that former Public Advocate and current State Attorney General Letitia James proposed in 2015.

    Prior to James introducing the failed measure in the city council she issued a report on the subject of retirement readiness which found most private sector workers in New York City do not have any access to a retirement savings program, and low-income, immigrant, minority, and female New Yorkers are disproportionately impacted:

    • Only 43 percent of working New Yorkers have access to a plan that can help them save for retirement. Those that do have access often face large fees, because they do not have the leverage provided by a collectively-pooled savings program.
    • Even those who have started to save do not have much: 40 percent of New Yorkers between the ages of 50 and 64 have less than $10,000 saved for retirement (which de Blasio mentioned in his speech).
    • To simply live at poverty level for a 15-year retirement, a New Yorker would need roughly $215,000 in savings.

    De Blasio did not give specific dates on when the legislation would be reintroduced.

    The rest of de Blasio’s plans for 2019 include:

    • Guaranteed healthcare for New Yorkers
    • New protections and benefits for all NYC workers
    • The introduction of the mayor’s office to protect tenants
    • Equity and excellence for all 3K Expansion
    • Free eyeglasses for Pre-K and first-graders

    “Life in the fairest big city in America should never feel impossible,” said de Blasio. “New York City is already the greatest city in the world and we now need to be the greatest city to live in. That’s what the fairest big city in America means and that’s exactly what New Yorkers deserve – to live in a city where work is rewarded and all this prosperity is shared.”

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