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April 13, 2000

Frequently Asked Questions About 401(k) Plans
3-page document with charts, includes: How large is the 401(k) market? What is the average 401(k) account balance? How have 401(k) participants allocated their investments? (Investment Company Institute)

Don't Let Creditors Raid Pensions, ERIC Says
Excerpt: "A last-minute provision (section 303(c)) tucked into Senate bankruptcy reform legislation (S.625) without public debate that would allow creditors to lay claim to an individual's retirement benefits is inimical to both sound bankruptcy and retirement policy and should be removed from the bill, said Scott J. Macey ..." (ERISA Industry Committee)

Keogh Plan Pension Contributions Are Deductible for New Jersey Income Tax Purposes, Judge Rules
Excerpt: "In a ruling that could affect tens of thousands of taxpayers, a State Tax Court judge ruled a partner in a business can defer paying state income taxes on pension contributions made under a Keogh plan." (Knight-Ridder / Tribune Business News)

Tax Court Clarifies Application of Section 274 to Non-Business Flights on Employer Aircraft
Excerpt: "The Tax Court has ruled that Section 274 does not preclude an employer from claiming as a business expense deduction the full operating costs of an aircraft allocable to non-business flights provided to employees. Sutherland v. Commissioner ..." (Ernst & Young)

CalPERS Protests Bank of America's CEO Pay Package
Excerpt: "The largest U.S. pension fund will withhold its proxy votes from four Bank of America Corp. directors to protest a $76 million compensation package awarded to the banking giant's chief executive last year." (California Public Employees Retirement System)

Long-Term Care Program Application Period Opens With New, Improved Benefit Choices
Excerpt: "A new and improved long-term care program is now available to all public employees in California. The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) announced today it is offering improved benefits with all its existing long-term care plans with no increase in premiums. In addition, it now offers a new, lower-cost, lower benefit plan option, designed for those who seek limited protection at a lower cost." (California Public Employees Retirement System)

Florida Senate Committee Passes Patients' Bill of Rights
Excerpt: "Patients are one step closer to being able to collect punitive damages from their health insurers." (Florida Times-Union)

U.S. Presidential Candidates--Legislative Positions on HR Issues
Excerpt: "Health care reform is again emerging as a key issue in the presidential race, as is pension reform. Candidates are also staking out broad positions on other HR-related issues, e.g. Social Security, taxes, education, civil rights and other topics." (Hewitt Associates)

Bush Health Plan Is a Trivial Response to a Serious Problem
Excerpt: "At the heart of the Bush plan is a refundable tax credit of $1,000 and $2,000 for lower-income uninsured individuals and families, respectively. Although the primary reason families are uninsured is because they can't afford coverage, these tiny tax credits will do little to change that equation." (FamiliesUSA)

Would Raising IRA Limits Bolster Retirement Security For Lower- and Middle-Income Families?
Excerpt: "Several pieces of legislation currently before Congress would raise the maximum amount that can be contributed to an Individual Retirement Account (or IRA) from $2,000 to $5,000 for an individual and from $4,000 to $10,000 for a married couple." (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

IRA Ownership in 1999
Excerpt: "An estimated 34.7 million, or one in three, U.S. households owned Individual Retirement Accounts as of June 1999. The number of households owning IRAs increased 13 percent from 30.6 million one year earlier." (Investment Company Institute)

Senate Passes Bill Encouraging Stock Options for Workers
Excerpt: "Federal labor laws would be streamlined to clear the way for hourly employees to receive stock options and gain a stake in the nation's prosperity, senators said Wednesday in passing the measure." (Associated Press)

Stock Option Bill Unanimously Approved by Senate; Bill Now Moves to House
Excerpt: "Today, LPA praised the Senate's passage of the Worker Economic Opportunity Act (S. 2323), bipartisan legislation that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) to ensure that employers can continue to offer stock options to non-exempt employees without fear of violating overtime requirements." (LPA)

ERIC Applauds Senate Passage of Bill Clearing Way for Stock Options for Rank-and-File
Excerpt: "The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC), the trade association representing the employee benefit plan interests of the nation's largest employers, [on Wednesday April 12] applauded the U.S. Senate's 95-0 vote in favor of legislation that would exempt stock option incentive plans for hourly workers from being calculated as overtime pay." " (ERISA Industry Committee)

Employer-Derived Retirement Income Becoming More Important for the Elderly
Excerpt: "The income of older Americans has risen over the past 20 years, with an increasing portion generated by pensions and annuities, according to new research reported by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)." (PRNewswire)

Achieving Social Goals: The Case for Defined Benefit Versus Defined Contribution Plans
Prepared for a March 29 Congressional Research Service seminar for Members of Congress. Excerpt: "The conclusion of this analysis is that a defined contribution approach is not appropriate for Social Security and Medicare." (Boston College's Center for Retirement Research)

Understanding the Shift From Defined Benefit to Defined Contribution Plans (PDF)
(Working Paper by Jack VanDerhei, William G. Gale, Leslie E. Papke)

401(k) Investment Decisions and Social Security Reform
Working Paper by Cori E. Uccello; "...[suggests] that workers with a guaranteed source of retirement income are more likely to invest their other retirement assets more aggressively. Removing this guarantee might result in more conservative investment. Therefore, using current 401(k) asset allocation behavior to project income under a Social Security individual account system with reduced guaranteed benefits could overstate returns to these accounts ..." (Boston College's Center for Retirement Research)

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