This paper provides policymakers with a primer about ERISA and the Tax Code, how these federal laws and their regulations pertain to IRAs and 401(k)s, and what this means for state-facilitated retirement savings programs. After reviewing the question of ERISA applicability to state auto-IRAs and an overview of the federal Tax Code and IRA rules, it explores how ERISA and the Tax Code rules apply to 401(k)s, including the new rules allowing states (and others) to possibly lower 401(k) costs by sponsoring group 401(k)MEPs and PEPs.
State Reports and Briefs
State Policy Reports
This report provides state-level analysis of the benefits of expanding worker access to save for retirement through state-facilitated auto-IRA programs. This report follows CRI’s earlier research on the potential benefits of national universal access to retirement savings options for U.S. workers (See Policy Report 20-02). Included in the analysis are 51 state (and DC) fact sheets that provides information on key state specific metrics including demographic trends related to the aging of the population, the size of the retirement savings access gap, the projected growth in savings with an auto-IRA program, and the economic and fiscal benefits to the state of adding new savers.
This final report updates and replaces CRI Working Paper 18-02, published in June 2018. This report outlines several models, based on a multi-state or regional approach, that should be explored for how states can work together to serve more than one state. Although individual states can establish their own state-sponsored retirement savings programs, the consideration of interstate arrangements offers opportunities for states to explore how they can achieve economies of scale to help minimize costs while significantly expanding access to retirement savings options.
The Benefits of Achieving Economies of Scale in State-Sponsored Retirement Savings Programs: The Case for Multi-State Collaboration (Working Paper, 18-02, June 2018)
This report outlines several models, ones based on a multi-state or regional approach, that should be explored for how states can work together to serve more than one state. Although individual states can establish their own state-sponsored retirement savings programs, the consideration of interstate arrangements offers opportunities for states to explore how they can achieve economies of scale to help minimize costs while significantly expanding access to retirement savings options. This document has been updated – please refer to Policy Report 19-01.
This report provides an overview of how ERISA and the Tax Code, as well as securities and other laws, would apply to a state-facilitated MEP and includes sample model legislation.
This report provides an overview of the retirement security challenges facing the nation and Vermont; outlines the range of plan design options for state-sponsored retirement programs for private sector employers and employees, including legal, regulatory, and plan design considerations; and reviews some early lessons learned from other states that are in various stages of implementing new programs.
As states contemplate ways to help expand the availability and effectiveness of private sector retirement savings options, they must understand how ERISA and other federal laws would apply to any new program for the private sector.
State Policy Briefs
This policy brief updates an earlier 2016 Policy Brief and compares the legal and design characteristics of different state-sponsored retirement saving programs, including the Payroll Deduction IRA, Multiple Employer Plan (MEPs), Master and Prototype (Prototype), and Marketplace.
More states are considering the creation of state-facilitated retirement savings plans, but there is considerable misinformation about the different issues and programs. This brief reviews some of the fallacies and some of the facts behind state-facilitated retirement savings plans.
As a growing number of states move toward establishing retirement savings plans for private sector workers who lack access to an employer sponsored plan, policymakers and stakeholders are very interested in plan cost. States should be encouraged by findings from the financial feasibility studies conducted on state sponsored retirement plans in California, Connecticut, and Oregon. This policy brief describes the lessons that were learned from California, Connecticut and Oregon, and sheds insight into retirement saving program design construction and program structure.
529 college savings plans have accumulated $266.2 billion across more than 12.7 million accounts. This policy brief looks at the lessons learned from the implementation of state-sponsored college savings plans and discusses some parallels for state-sponsored retirement saving plans.
Publicly Sponsored Private Retirement Programs: Comparison of Plan Design Options and Features (16-01)
This policy brief describes and compares the legal and design characteristics of different state-sponsored retirement saving plans, including Multiple Employer Plan (MEPs), Master and Prototype (Prototype), Marketplace, MyRA, Payroll Deduction IRAs, and Auto-IRAs. This document has been updated – please refer to Policy Brief 18-01.