Some states offer the 403(b) plans through a retirement system, others through an office like the Treasurer. Most of these plans appear to be low-cost in nature and some are downright cheap!
Are state run 403(b) programs the future for 403(b)?
Perhaps, but they lag far behind in assets and usually lack a salesforce. With a few tweaks, they could easily rise to prominence - though the opposition to them is quite fierce. Just the mention of a state assembly wanting to offer such a program and anti-fiduciary forces descend like moths to a flame.
I did a little research and came up with the following states that offer (this doesn't mean it's available to all school employers in that state) a 403(b) program:
North Carolina (launches this summer)
Florida (not actually a state plan)
Wisconsin (this is a union run program, but has the same effect)
These programs are run by mainstream providers - ING, Great-West, Nationwide, TIAA-CREF and VALIC to name a few.
Which state will be next?
Scott Dauenhauer CFP, MSFP, AIF