The state Senate has passed legislation which will make it easier to save for retirement in Wisconsin. Current state law does not allow Wisconsin residents to law does not allow for all individuals to convert from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA without a stiff penalty. “Without this bill, Wisconsin would have been the only state that had not adopted these provisions of IRA rollovers,” said state Senator Mark Miller (D-Madisom), in response to a question from Senator Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) on what impact the bill would have on state finances. “It was more of sense of that we needed to be appreciative of what we put our taxpayers through, when they fill out their income taxes.”

Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) was one the first lawmakers to raise an alarm over the discrepancy. “There are many, many successful people who put more than $7500 every year into their IRA,” said Grothman. “There are many successful people who are willing to take advantage of the switch from a regular IRA to a Roth IRA. Had we not passed this bill today, a lot of those people would have left this state.”

While the IRA reform bill does make it easier for state residents to save for retirement, it does come at a cost to state finances. “This is going to dig a $75 million hole, structural deficit, in the next biennial budget,” said Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar). “That’s how we dig holes, but I understand that this is needed,” said Ellis. “I’m glad we’re going to be like the other 49 states, they’re doing such a great job. If we stay here long enough we might catch up to California.” The bill now goes to the state Assembly.

AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (:60 MP3) AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (:60 MP3)

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