U.S. Senate thwarts Philly's retirement plan

Nancy Morozin (left), owner of the Dining Car diner on Frankford Avenue, and Jackie Mercado talk with customers there. Morozin would have liked the opportunity to offer her employees a chance to participate in a city-run retirement program.

A vote in Washington Thursday is putting the brakes on Philadelphia’s efforts to set up a city-run retirement savings program for small businesses that want to help their employees save for retirement but don’t have the ability or financial capacity to set up their own 401-K or IRA-type programs.

The Senate voted to repeal a U.S. Department of Labor regulation that allowed large cities to set up their own plans. Many states, including New Jersey, have been creating these plans.

Councilwoman Cherelle L. Parker, chair of the Retirement Security Task Force for Private Sector Employees in Philadelphia and Council’s Committee on Labor and Civil Service, called the decision “extremely disappointing,” and says that by blocking cities like Philadelphia, New York, and Seattle from setting up plans, Republicans in the Senate are ignoring the “silver tsunami” that threatens to decimate municipalities when seniors are not financially prepared for retirement.