National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems Findings from a Survey of 505 Small Business Owners in California

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1 National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems Findings from a Survey of 505 Small Business Owners in California David Mermin and Jeff Klinger Washington, DC Berkeley, CA New York, NY LakeResearch.com

2 Methodology Lake Research Partners designed and administered this survey that was conducted by telephone using professional interviewers April 24 26, The survey reached a total of 505 small business owners in California. The size of businesses ranged from 2 to 49 employees. Telephone numbers for the sample were generated from a national database of small businesses. The data were weighted slightly by age, gender, number of employees, region, and minority owned status. The margin of error for the total sample is ±4.4 percentage points. The error for sub groups is greater.

3 Executive Summary By a 3 to 1 margin, California small business owners are in favor of the Secure Choice Pension Plan. Support for the plan comes from both Democrats (78% support) and Republicans (70% support). By large margins, business owners across gender, age and geography are all supportive of the Secure Choice Pension Plan. A majority of small business owners are worried about their own retirement security, and that of their employees. Small business owners feel a responsibility to provide retirement benefits and believe it helps their bottom line and helps to recruit good employees. They overwhelmingly disagree that retirement benefits are not needed. A majority of small business owners are interested in the Secure Choice Pension Plan for their own employees, including half of those who currently offer no retirement benefits of any kind to their employees. For many, an affiliation with the existing public employee pension system is a non factor, but by a near 2 to 1 margin, small business owners say the affiliation would make them more likely to choose the plan. 3

4 Demographics of California Small Businesses

5 Gender and Minority/Woman Owned Status Gender Minority/Woman Owned Status 30% 55% 19% 70% 34% 5

6 Age and Party Identification Party Identification 41% 36% 20% 6

7 Number of Employees and Revenue Number of Employees Revenue 32% 14% 11% 10% 19% 38% 27% 20% 27% 7

8 Geography and Type of Business Region Type of Business 34% 28% 22% 17% 8

9 A slight majority of small business owners in California are worried about having a secure retirement for themselves In this economy, are you very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried, or not at all worried that you personally will not have enough money for a secure retirement?

10 Owners of small businesses with smaller revenues are more likely to be worried about their own retirement. Those in minority and woman owned businesses also tend to be more worried. Not Worried Worried Net In this economy, are you very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried, or not at all worried that you personally will not have enough money for a secure retirement?

11 A majority of small business owners also say they are worried about their employees having a secure retirement In this economy, are you very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried, or not at all worried that your employees will not have enough money for a secure retirement?

12 Similar to those who worried about their own retirement, those with lower revenue tend to worry more about their employees retirement. Not Worried Worried Net In this economy, are you very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried, or not at all worried that your employees will not have enough money for a secure retirement?

13 Nearly three quarters of small business owners agree that offering retirement benefits helps them to recruit good employees. Most owners agree that their employees would like a more secure retirement option and also feel a responsibility to provide a retirement benefit. Net Now I am going to read you some reasons employers might want to offer retirement benefits to employees. For each one, please tell me if you agree or disagree with the statement. [Agree/Disagree] 13

14 Among those who offer retirement benefits, nearly 8 in 10 feel a responsibility to provide retirement benefits to their employees. Seven in ten (69%) say offering a retirement benefit helps their bottom line. Net Now I am going to read you some reasons employers might want to offer retirement benefits to employees. For each one, please tell me if you agree or disagree with the statement. [Agree/Disagree] 14

15 The costs of offering a retirement is important, as 60% agree that it is too expensive. Just 34% of owners agree that their employees don t need retirement benefits; most disagree. Net Now I am going to read you some reasons employers might want to offer retirement benefits to employees. For each one, please tell me if you agree or disagree with the statement. [Agree/Disagree] 15

16 Secure Choice Pension More than 7 in 10 California small business owners favor the Secure Choice Pension Plan after hearing a description.

17 Text of the Secure Choice Pension Plan Under this proposal, people who work for private companies would have the opportunity to participate in a Secure Choice Pension, a new retirement plan modeled after the public employee pension system, and receive a guaranteed monthly pension benefit, like many public employees do, when they retire. Unlike a 401(k), employees would receive a guaranteed pension benefit of at least the amount they put in over time, plus any investment return. Employers could choose to simply give access to their employees, or contribute to the plan, or both. Instead of an individual account, the contributions would go into a large fund managed by a team of experienced investment professionals and overseen by an administrative board. The board would include representatives from the existing public employee pension system, representatives of participating employers, and representatives of participating employees. Contributions would be tax deferred meaning employees would pay no taxes on the money until they take it out.

18 After hearing a description of the Secure Choice Pension Plan, small business owners in California support the plan by a 3 to 1 margin, with 71% in favor of the Secure Choice Pension Plan Now, please tell me if you would favor or oppose this proposal having this type of retirement plan available for small private employers?

19 Support for the Secure Choice Pension Plan is strong among both small business owners who offer retirement benefits and those who do not. By a 50 point margin, owners who currently do not offer retirement benefits support this plan. Offer Retirement Benefits Do Not Offer Retirement Benefits Now, please tell me if you would favor or oppose this proposal having this type of retirement plan available for small private employers?

20 Support for the Secure Choice Pension Plan crosses party lines, with 78% of Democrats and 70% of Republicans in favor. Support for this plan is especially strong among Republicans who currently do not offer retirement benefits. Oppose Favor Net Now, please tell me if you would favor or oppose this proposal having this type of retirement plan available for small private employers.

21 Support for the Secure Choice Pension Plan is strong all across the state, and especially in the more conservative area. Oppose Favor Net Now, please tell me if you would favor or oppose this proposal having this type of retirement plan available for small private employers.

22 Across gender, age, geography, and number of employees, California small business owners support the Secure Choice Pension plan by wide margins. 22

23 More than half of small business owners are interested in the Secure Choice Pension for their own employees And thinking about your own small business, would you be very interested, somewhat interested, not too interested, or not at all interested in this type of retirement plan for your own employees?

24 Democrats are more interested than Republicans, but a majority of Republicans who offer benefits are interested. Owners with 4 6 employees tend to be more interested than others. Oppose Favor Net And thinking about your own small business, would you be very interested, somewhat interested, not too interested, or not at all interested in this type of retirement plan for your own employees?

25 Business owners in more conservatives areas of California are more interested in the Secure Choice Pension Plan than those in the Bay Area and LA County. Oppose Favor Net And thinking about your own small business, would you be very interested, somewhat interested, not too interested, or not at all interested in this type of retirement plan for your own employees?

26 An affiliation with the existing public employee pension system is a positive attribute, by a near 2 to 1 margin. However, a majority say it would make no difference in choosing a plan for their employees Does the affiliation of this retirement plan with the existing public employee pension system make you more likely to choose this plan for your own employees, less likely, or does it not make a difference?

27 Small business owners who offer benefits find an affiliation with the existing pension system particularly attractive, especially among Democrats and those with small numbers of employees. 27

28 Washington, DC Berkeley, CA New York, NY LakeResearch.com David Mermin Jeff Klinger

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