Here is a Charlie Mitchell column in the Clarion-Ledger about PERS. It includes:
While PERS is far more solvent than Social Security, Uncle Sam’s program for senior citizens, there are some question marks.
Bad analogy. Uncle Sam can print money to pay Social Security benefits. Literally. Mississippi can’t print money. You can’t compare State obligations to federal obligations. You just….can’t.
It goes on:
Any good news?
Yes. During the year, PERS slowly closed the gap between its assets and its projected liabilities.
I’m a glass is half empty kind of guy. To me, that’s bad news. The stock market is 3x above the 2009 lows. It rose every month in 2017. At this point, the funding gap should not be closed. It should be erased. The stock market is not going up every year.
So far, it’s not going up this year. Here is the PERS investment report for the quarter ending March 31: PERS Investment Report.
It earned .1%.
Perhaps more significantly, Mississippi’s plan is working better than those in 26 other states, according to Crain’s Business Report. Tennessee is way up on the “solid” list, followed by Arkansas, which is also ahead of Mississippi. Louisiana is doing slightly worse and Alabama, along with Kentucky and Illinois, are much worse.
There will come a time when PERS needs more fiscal attention from the Legislature. Not every year will have rosy investment returns and other happy news.
For now, though, it’s a point of pride that public employees in Mississippi can breathe easy. “Will there be any money there when I get ready to retire?” is a serious question. For now, the answer is a confident, “Yes.”
It’s like this was ghost written by the PERS director and Tate Reeves.That’s not significant at all. On a scale of 1-10, it’s a 0.
How is other states doing worse going to help? It’s like telling someone on the Titanic that everything is ok because there are a couple of thousand other people going down with them.
Plus, compared to other states, Mississippi is near the bottom in funding levels. Last time I checked, 10th worst. The phrase polishing a turd comes to mind.
Will there be any money when you retire? Yes. Will it be all the money you were promised? Probably not.
Most people in the system who haven’t retired yet are going to take a haircut. And the longer the Legislature plays ostrich, the bigger the haircut.