Economy — Task force to report by Sept. 1

An independent public opinion survey finds support among Oregonians for a state-run retirement savings plan for workers without access to one.

The survey by DHM Research of Portland, which sampled 450 people in March, came up with these conclusions:

— By 79 percent to 17 percent, they strongly or somewhat favored a self-funded plan with no taxpayer support.

— By 78 percent to 11 percent, they strongly or somewhat favored basing it on the 529 College Savings Plan.

— By 72 percent to 24 percent, they strongly or somewhat favored elected officials setting up such a plan.

The survey also asked about six features of a plan, the most supported of which were portability from job to job and no dependence on taxpayers.

An estimated one in six Oregonians between ages 45 and 65 has saved less than $5,000 for retirement.

Lawmakers in 2013 set up a task force, led by state Treasurer Ted Wheeler, to look at the issue and come up with recommendations by Sept. 1.

The task force can recommend a public-private partnership, but cannot endorse plans involving guarantees by the state or private employers.

AARP Oregon supports a state-run plan, although critics of the task force said the state should not be involved.

“Boomers who are behind on retirement savings shouldn’t feel alone — the system changed like sand beneath their feet,” said Joyce DeMonnin, AARP director for public outreach. “With changing times, job market and uncertain economic times, individuals without retirement savings at work have been left out in the cold. More can be done to help all Oregonians save.”

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