State pension fund's future is still uncertain - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

State pension fund's future is still uncertain

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The fate of Mississippi's pension fund is once again in the spotlight.

A recent routine audit gave a snapshot of where the system stands right now. There's no quick fix for Mississippi's pension fund.

"Right now, we do not have sufficient funds if you're today's employee, just like me, I haven't retired yet, to pay all the projected future benefits that we expect to pay you," explained PERS executive director Pat Robertson.

Keep in mind, the Public Employee Retirement System or PERS is constantly running numbers on what the future of the system will look like.

The recent audit suggested that the rate of inflation that was being used by PERS was set too high.

But what happens if they lower it?

"I feel 100 percent sure that we would have to increase the contribution rate or we would see a major deterioration in the funding status," said Robertson.

But the board hasn't made that call and even if it did, the specifics of whether it's agencies or employees changing contributions would have to be decided.

Brenda Scott advocates for state workers as the president of the Mississippi Alliance of State Employees.

"People that are retired are concerned," noted Scott. "The ones looking to retire are concerned. And with the cuts in state government, you've got a lot of state employees you're going to see an increase in retirees that are trying to get the heck out of dodge."

Scott says they have faith that the PERS board will make informed decisions. Still, she doesn't want workers absorbing any new costs.

"When will the leadership of this state appreciate workers enough to say if there is a reason for an increase into PERS, we will bear that responsibility?" asked Scott.

PERS will have a better idea on how last year's investments are paying off in October.

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