SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) — Two leading California Democrats want to create a state-run retirement savings program for an estimated 6.7 million private-sector workers whose employers do not offer pensions or 401(k)s.

Sen. Kevin de Leon and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg introduced SB1234 on Thursday. It requires employers with five or more employees to enroll them into what they have termed a “personal pension program” to be run by a state board.

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KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

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Their bill says the retirement benefits would be guaranteed, unlike in an individual IRA or 401(k) account, but does not specify how. Employees would have 3 percent of earnings set aside for retirement unless they opted out.

Republican Sen. Mimi Walters said such guarantees could backfire if investments don’t meet projections. She worries taxpayers could be on the hook for shortfalls.

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