The Illinois House is advancing legislation intended to get more people saving for retirement. Advocates say "nudging" workers into a savings program could help keep them out of poverty in retirement.
The so-called Secure Choice retirement savings program is an idea of the conservative Heritage Foundation. The plan would require all companies with more than 25 employees to automatically enroll workers in a state-supervised retirement program.
Representative Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) says retirees who lack savings could put a strain on the social safety net for the poor.
"Even Franklin Delano Roosevelt didn't think Social Security was supposed to be the only thing standing between poverty and a senior who has retired from the world of business," she said.
Employees could opt out of the program, but proponents say just having it available would help stave off a "retirement crisis."
"We need to have a forcing of people to learn to start saving for their retirement," said Chip Morton, with Envestnet Retirement Solutions.
Opponents say the program would put an undue burden on small businesses that don't have the resources to administer another payroll deduction.