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Governor O’Malley Establishes Task Force to Ensure Retirement Security for All Marylanders

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Because of the critical role retirement security plays in building a strong middle class, Governor O’Malley today established the Governor’s Task Force to Ensure Retirement Security for All Marylanders. The Task Force will examine how Maryland can improve retirement security for private-sector employees, and it will recommend concrete steps that the State can take to ensure the opportunity for a secure retirement for every private-sector employee in Maryland.

“I understand that a lot of people across Maryland feel anxious about their retirement, and we are taking action to help,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Strengthening and growing the middle class is the central focus of our work, and ensuring the financial security of Maryland workers is a key part of that equation.”

The current shortfall in retirement savings for American households is $6.6 trillion and over one-half of all Americans are at risk of outliving their retirement savings. Only 49 percent of private-sector workers participate in a retirement plan, and only 16 percent participate in a defined benefit plan. In addition, 36 percent of private-sector workers do not have access to any employer-sponsored retirement plan, leaving them without a critical source of retirement income. These shortfalls in retirement savings pose a significant threat to Maryland’s fiscal stability and economic growth, as individuals with stable and secure retirements are less dependent on government assistance and money to flow into the State’s economy.

“Helping Marylanders retire and remain in Maryland is an important part of building a stronger future for our state,” said Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. “Through this effort, we’re going to ensure financial security for more members of our Middle Class.”

Governor O’Malley also announced that former Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend will chair the Task Force. In addition to being the former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Ms. Kennedy Townsend is also the managing director at Rock Creek Group, and the founder of the Center for Retirement Initiatives at Georgetown University.

“Governor O’Malley asked me to head up a diverse group of business, labor, retiree, and other stakeholders so that we can safeguard Marylanders’ economic security by finding innovative solutions to help Marylanders prepare for a secure retirement,” said Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. “I look forward to working with the Task Force and helping address this issue which is extremely important for Maryland families.”

The Task Force will meet this year to conduct a comprehensive examination of ideas that the State could implement through legislation, regulation, or other methods to ensure that private-sector employees in Maryland have the opportunity to enjoy a secure retirement. It will also review the approaches of other states and countries that offer state-sponsored retirement savings plans for private-sector employees and review desirable plan design features.  Following the review, the Task Force will develop and issue recommendations, including specific steps addressing how such policies would be implemented.

The Task Force consists of members from the House of Delegates, Senate, Governor’s Cabinet, the State Treasurer, labor unions, the financial service industry, the small business community, and the retiree community. The Task Force will issue a report by December 4, 2014, and will terminate on February 15, 2015, unless the Governor declares an extension.

The full executive order is attached: EO 01.01.2014.07.pdf