Screenshot City Club forum 11-5-20

Clockwise from top right, Pam Eaton of the Idaho Retailers Association, Lupe Wissel of AARP Idaho, and Angela Antonelli of Georgetown University speak at a City Club of Boise virtual forum on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020; at upper left is Jeremy Parkinson, the forum moderator and a City Club board member.

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Six in 10 of Idaho’s private-sector workers have no access to a retirement plan at work, according to a state study, and that means big future costs for the state when those workers have to turn to programs like Medicaid and food stamps when they retire. Forty-five states have considered or enacted legislation or launched studies to look at increasing retirement savings among their private-sector workers. But the Idaho study notes that Idaho policy-makers haven’t yet decided what the state’s role should be.

“States have a history of being leaders and being innovators and coming up with innovative solutions to problems, and that’s exactly what they’re now doing with respect to retirement savings,” Angela Antonelli, research professor and director of the Center for Retirement Initiatives at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, during a Boise City Club virtual forum on Thursday.

“The cost of doing nothing today to address this is significant,” she said, “and it’s only going to continue to grow over time.”

A bipartisan group of 12 Idaho lawmakers in 2019 requested the state Office of Performance Evaluations to conduct the study; it was published Aug. 31. You can read my full story here at (subscription required).

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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