Maryland Gov.-Elect Pulls Plug on Retirement Savings Panel

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Maryland Gov.-elect Larry Hogan says he is pulling the plug on a retirement savings task force set up under his predecessor, Gov. O’Malley.

The panel’s purpose was to study and issue findings on how to get middle-class residents to save more for retirement.

Politics may have played a role in Hogan’s decision to shut the panel down.

More from the Baltimore Sun:

What makes Mr. Hogan’s decision notable is that the 14-member task force created by Gov. Martin O’Malley less than one year ago only began what was supposed to be a two-year study this past summer. It has met only three times and has yet to issue any findings. In other words, it was just getting warmed up but will expire in mid-February under terms of the executive order unless renewed by Mr. Hogan, which he says he won’t do.

It’s not hard to guess why. One of the key proposals being explored by the group and its chair, former Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, is requiring businesses to offer a retirement savings plan or, as an alternative, enroll employees in a state-managed savings plan. There has also been discussion of making such a program an “opt out” for employees, meaning that workers would automatically be enrolled in the retirement savings plan through a deduction in their paychecks unless they took steps to remove themselves from participation.

[…]

But some in the business community bristle at the notion that government might mandate a retirement benefit (even if it carries no fiduciary obligation to the employer), and Mr. Hogan, who spoke often during the campaign for governor about the need to lift government mandates, may be especially sensitive to that criticism. Meanwhile, refusing to maintain the task force doesn’t come with much political cost to someone who never signed the executive order creating it in the first place.

For more on the panel and its demise, click here.

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