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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ICBA Commends Rep. Sam Johnson for Bill to Boost Savings Options

Washington, D.C. (June 25, 2004) - Savings legislation backed by the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) that would help more Americans save and invest for their financial future was introduced today by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas).

"Now more than ever, Americans need a simple savings option to better prepare for their retirement needs," stated Paul Merski, ICBA's chief economist and director of federal tax policy. "It's no secret that millions of Americans have little or no savings for retirement."

"Fortunately, Rep. Sam Johnson's Retirement Savings Account Act (H.R. 4714) will help address this troubling savings dilemma head on," added Merski.

Merski said ICBA was delighted to see the Bush administration's fiscal year 2005 budget promote many of the savings incentives recommended in the trade association's recent tax policy study "Community Bank Tax Relief and Simplification Options," especially these new Retirement Savings Accounts.

"The current array of complex, restrictive, and fragmented savings plans prevents Americans from having a simple and flexible account to meet their savings needs," he said. "Many Americans often cannot qualify for today's tax-advantaged savings plans because of complex restrictions."

The Retirement Savings Account Act, H.R.4714, would consolidate the three types of current-law IRAs into a single account. After-tax annual contributions of up to $5,000 per person would be permitted with no income caps. Earnings on these retirement accounts grow tax-free and distributions after age 58 would be tax-free. The $5,000 contribution limit would be indexed for inflation.

"Saving and investing is the fuel necessary for economic growth," Merski said.

ICBA applauds Rep. Sam Johnson for advancing much-needed expanded savings options and will work to see that this important legislation becomes law.




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