Monday, October 24, 2011

PERS: I report, you decide.

The Clarion-Ledger editorial page called PERS "successful" yesterday:
"Legislative leaders have sought to sweeten retirement benefits to make public service more atttraictive to many who must sacrifice financially to serve and to retain experience.

Ironically, that is the one reason PERS exists as it does and why it is so successful."


The editorial finishes with this example of positive reinforcement:

"Mississippi has a good retirement system that attracts for quality employees."

No surprise the newspaper would weigh in on PERS as the debate about the PERS Study Commission heats up. The Democrats charge the Republicans are trying to rob retirees. Some Republicans say PERS needs to change from a defined benefit (pensions) to a defined contribution (401k) system. Others say they are just trying to stabilize PERS. Lost in all the debate is some semblance of what the true picture is of PERS. JJ filed a public records request for the PERS audits of 2000, 2002, 2004, 2007, and 2009 (The audits usually contain much information from the prior year so they were not requested.). Here is part of the PERS portrait after reviewing the financial statements.

PERS defenders claim it holds $21 billion in assets- a true statement shown by the chart below:


The system held $18.4 billion in assets in 2000. It has increased only $2.6 billion in ten years. Understandable as that includes the dot-com bust, the housing crisis, Lehman crash, the 2001 recession, and the current recession. However, PERS critics like to point to this chart to justify their desire to "reform" PERS:


PERS is funded at a level of 64.2%, no new news there. However, what is interesting is 15 years ago PERS was 70% funded and has achieved the desired 80% benchmark five times in the last fifteen years. If anything, 80% funding of PERS is the exception, not the rule. The next chart will provide some clue as to why PERS has a hard time staying above 80%:


Now that is a problem. PERS paid $410 million more for payments to beneficiaries than it received in contributions from employees and employers. The chart shows the problem has only gotten worse over the last ten years as it had an excess of $97 million in 2000 to the current deficit (or a 522% increase). PERS makes up the shortfall from either net investment income (See notes posted below) or from current assets. One major factor for the increase in this deficit is probably found in the next chart:



There were 6,267 more retirees/inactive members than there were active members in 2000. The difference mushroomed to 43,515 in 2010 (694% increase). So assets have only increased one-sixth or so in the last ten years while the excess of payments over contributions have increased 522% and the excess of non-active members over active members have increased nearly 700%. Here are the investment returns for PERS over the last ten years:

2000: 8.4%
2001: -7.1%
2002: -6.6%
2003: 3.5%
2004: 14.6%
2005: 9.8%
2006: 10.7%
2007: 18.9%
2008: -8.2%
2009: -19.4%
2010: 14.1%
2011: 25%

and the rolling averages:
3-year rolling average: (5.5%)
5-year rolling average: 2.1%
10-year rolling average: 2.3%
20-year rolling average: 7.4%
30-year rolling average: 8.7%


I think it is safe to say that serious people in either party or any official at PERS are probably concerned by those numbers. The "state" newspaper hasn't exactly gone out of its way to provide these facts to its readers as it tells them the system is "good" and "successful".

I am not against a defined benefit system per se. I like 401k plans but don't think they are a magic bullet either. What I do want to see is more informed debate and coverage about the PERS system because if we ever have to bail out PERS as taxpayers, the bill will be pretty steep. I seriously doubt most of the loudmouths screeching about PERS on both sides of the aisle really know much about our public employees retirement system. Anyone who says "PERS will be fine", "the markets will recover", "don't worry, PERS has $21 billion in assets", or something similar is sticking his head in the sand. I will leave it to others to debate whether or not changes should be made to the retirement system but we owe it to ourselves to at least have a true idea of the true state of PERS.




2000 audit
2002 audit
2004 audit
2007 audit
2009 audit
2010 audit


56 comments:

Shadowfax said...

So, Kingfish, would you suggest that any other entity that's been negatively affected by the economic 'downturn' is also UNsuccessful? Of course PERS is a successful program. I think you're just way to quick to jump on the Bash-Anything-Remotely-Related-to-Government bandwagon.

Every aspect of PERS should be up for periodic review, but by PEER who has an investigative mission. Not by a hastily created group of Barbour cronies as he slips out the back door of the gubment mansion. Even Hampie can see that.

Anonymous said...

My only question is "why now?". Gov. Barbour had plenty of time in his 8 years to look it over...especially in 2007/08 when the market was at its lowest. he has no political capital to lose now, but it's gonna the GOP's november results.

Anonymous said...

affect* november results

Anonymous said...

Of course PERS is a successful program.

Then quantify the success. Support your argument.

Because the numbers state otherwise and it is not the responsibility of taxpayers to continually backstop the shit poor investment decisions of the PERS Board and PERS Executive Staff.

If there is an investigative mission somewhere in all this then the investigators need to be fired because they have failed to fulfill their mission.

Shadowfax said...

How about YOU back up your contention that 'the taxpayers backstop shit poor' investments. You obviously have no clue how PERS funding originates. I said it's successful since for decades it's been one of the most financially sound of all similar systems throughtout the nation. That it's now undergoing minimally tough economic highs and lows does not by any means establish it as UNsuccessful.

Anonymous said...

9:38; maybe you have an inroad the rest of us don't. The committee reports have not been released yet, so it's pretty much impossible to know whether they've fulfilled a mission. Or is the only ball you have crystal?

Online Coupons said...

Success? What about the fact that the number of people receiving a payout is growing faster than than the rate of participants (which is in decline).

The fact that the "pension" is not funded 100% is an issue.

The support of the funding "gap" over the long term with returns on the investment portfolio is not a sustainable unless you absolutely avoid the downturns. When the principle is tapped, you will have a double whammy - declining investment base and declining absolute returns.

How is this success?

KaptKangaroo said...

Success? What about the fact that the number of people receiving a payout is growing faster than than the rate of participants (which is in decline).

The fact that the "pension" is not funded 100% is an issue.

The support of the funding "gap" over the long term with returns on the investment portfolio is not a sustainable unless you absolutely avoid the downturns. When the principle is tapped, you will have a double whammy - declining investment base and declining absolute returns.

I would not call it "unsuccessful", nor would I call it "successful" (except for those receiving benefits today). I would raise the red flag and say, it is definitely time for a course correction.

Anonymous said...

Shadowfax explain these numbers.

and the rolling averages:
3-year rolling average: (5.5%)
5-year rolling average: 2.1%
10-year rolling average: 2.3%
20-year rolling average: 7.4%
30-year rolling average: 8.7%

Anonymous said...

9:24 and all you other Democrats and Barbour bashers that are trying to use PERS on the state level like Dems have been doing with Social Security on the national level.

Barbour is not "just now" raising this issue - he raised it early in his first year in office, and again strongly four years ago after the state had to step in again and fund PERS to keep it solvent. Idea then was for state to put in $70 or so million but PERS to be revamped. But, of course, McCoy and his buddies in the HOR stopped any revisions in PERS formation.

As long as you have a board of current and future beneficiaries controlling the process, you can bet that the rest of the taxpayers are going to get a good screwing. You can't keep increasing the number riding in the wagon, decreasing the number pulling the wagon, planning on great investment returns while nobody in the marketplace is getting decent returns, and expect anything other than what we have now - a plan that can only survive with increased infusions by the taxpayers.

The Dems - utterly out of desperation to keep control of the House - are making up all kinds of crap about what Barbour and the Commission are going to do to 'our retirees'. Just as they have done nationally with Social Security. And we all know what kind of success Social Security is - and we might as well expect the same for PERS unless somebody grows some balls and takes on the problem.

Shadowfax said...

That a system, any system, has experienced a downturn in the last three years of recession is no reason to condemn that system as ineffective and failed. Sure, any system deserves and requires review and adjustments, this one included.

From my inquiries, I don't agree that the number of recipients outnumbers the number of current contributors. Perhaps Kangaroo can cite a reference for that claim. There are far fewer living retirees than active employees in the PERS network.

I'd also like to see some citation as to Barbour's earlier pleas that the system be examined. I've researched Barbour's comments on PERS and haven't yet found that. If it exists, please provide citation. To the contrary, Barbour has depended heavily on the support of state employees in both his election contests. Where is the evidence that he's ever asked for the introduction of a bill, established a study committee or gotten a group of folks around his oak table to carefully examine PERS, much less SLRP?

My meager research has revealed that the taxpayers do not demonstrably contribute to this system in the first place, unless you are talking about the meager contribution of an agency's overall operating budget that kicks into the system. And as I posted months ago on this subject, many of these positions are federally funded and receive no legislative appropriation and not a dime of MS taxpayer's money.

Maybe some of you Monday-Moaners should have worked 30 years, underpaid, in this system as highway patrolmen, construction workers, teachers or clerk typists in order to receive a monthly pension check.

Your objections, no matter how cleverly disguised, have nothing at all to do with a system that needs review or the stock market or investment of funds. You're only pissed because you're unable to draw a meager monthly pension from it.

Maybe Barbour will refuse his rather healthy monthly PERS check that kicks in next January and roll that back into the broke program.

KaptKangaroo said...

SF did you bother to read any of the documents? Look above at the sheet that is contained in the .docstoc post (sourced from several audits provided by PERS).

I'm not going to respond to a question that is clearly answered in the document listing Active and Inactive/Retiree Members which clearly shows the rate of growth for Inactive/Retiree Members is outpacing the decline in Active Members.

As to the difference, the costs associated with the "pension" are exorbitant and heading skyward. Fiscal responsibility demands a change in the approach to avoid the program from ultimately feeding out of the state coffer. And if you think about it, it is a double edged sword, because if that fund gets big enough or is over-funded (unlikely) there is a great propensity to appropriate money from that pool and waste it.

The indicators in the numbers clearly show this is not turning around, it is heading in a bad direction. Fix it now or pay later. I'm not a fan of kicking the can and firmly believe Barbour is on the right path.

If you really want to get deep into the numbers look at the average deficit per Active Member, it is roughly $15K. That is not good; not good at all!

Anonymous said...

Shadowfax is long on the spin but woefully short on the substantiation.

babysaywhat said...

I'm so tired of hearing about how the state employees deserve their pension because they are underpaid and have "sacrificed" financial opportunity to serve in the public sector. Gimme a break. Cross your feet Jesus, we only got 3 nails!
The stories that I hear about the laziness of some state employees is infuriating and because these folks are protected they won't be fired (as they would be in the private, real world sector). People from all walks of life work tough jobs and certainly don't hold the golden ticket at retirement that these folks get. Pensions are unheard of in this day and age as are just about any long term financial guarantees.

Kingfish said...

Shadow, all you have to do is go to each PERS audit and look up the numbers for members.

Anonymous said...

Shadow,

PERS was a suscessful, model retirement system up until 1999. It is at that point that a combination of two things put it into a deteriorating state.

1. Obviously the dot-com bust followed by the great recession. Asset yields are pitiful over the last ten years.

2. The legislature gave all PERS retireees an approximate 15% boost in benefits.

PERS at this point can only be considered successful to the beneficiaries because the underlying finances are getting worse by the year. State agencies have hiring and wage freezes; however, PERS continues to give the same 3% COLA anyway. More people are retiring and not being replaced. Benefits are increasing at the same time contributions are drying up.

It is not sustainable with the current contribution/benefit formula. Something has to be done to make the system financially sound.

Anonymous said...

Thank you 6:46 but I'm afraid the impact of diverging statistical curves is lost on Shadowfax.

Shadowfax said...

I won't bother to respond to the bullshit comments. There are tons of anonymous comedians on here.

However, Kangaroo, I apparently misinterpreted your earlier remark to imply there are more retirees than currently contributing employees. You and I both know that is not, nor will it ever be, the case. Thank you for your clarification.

I am about to decide this whole blog is a lynch mob site. KF throws up incindiary comments about some public servant or private citizen or group or entity and then lays back with a scotch while the rest of US (me included) assemble on a firing line to take our turn at pot shots, some missing the mark, some dead on.

I have no particular dawg in this hunt but hate to see Barbour strutting around on this site, in absentia, as if he's finally, in his NINETY THIRD MONTH AS GOVERNOR, decided to ask for review. And none of you, even the statistical dunces with pocket protectors, give a hoot in hell about the legislative ripoffs of the PERS system. They're taking us all to the cleaners while you are stuck on silent.

I am elated that KFish has chosen to post all of my comments on this thread. His awkward form of censorship is erratic and curious, at best.

Anonymous said...

@babysaywhat - I am sure if you worked for the state (university, public school system, etc) you would be singing a different tune. Do you even have a job that doesn't require you to wear a name tag?

Kingfish said...

For those that say just wait til the market comes back, look at the charts. PERS earned decent returns in the mid-2000's. Only problem is the unfunded liability INCREASED. Why is that?

Anonymous said...

I won't bother to respond to the bullshit comments.

Our only hope is that you will refrain from leaving same.

Anonymous said...

Only problem is the unfunded liability INCREASED. Why is that?

You already have the answer King. The pyramid of the state sponsored Ponzi inverted.

But Cecil Brown, Pat Robertson, Dorsey Carson and Shadowjackass say everything is just fine and nothing needs to be changed.

babysaywhat said...

@8:08am... Cute, No I don't wear a name tag, white collar professional here. However, I know that the laziness I have been privy to at the state level would guarantee my dismissal in the private sector. There are no across the board raises out here...you work hard, you get a raise (maybe, if economic conditions allow it). You slack off and have a "that's not my job" attitude (I'm talking to you state folks), you will be fired quickly. There's no seniority, tenure, or loyalty protection out here.

Shadowfax said...

9:09; I haven't said that at all. I've suggested several times that the system needs to be continually monitored and corrected as appropriate. You must be too busy to slow down and read posts thoroughly. Some of you slow thinkers seem to advocate 'dismantle the system quickly and throw them all to the dogs'. That's really a constructive solution.

Babysaywhat, meanwhile, smugly pontificates from atop his 'white collar professional' perch where nobody wears a nametag and suggests that all state employees are lazy and have some sort of 'tenure', neither being true.

KaptKangaroo said...

SF, I am not sure you really did get my point. You claimed:

However, Kangaroo, I apparently misinterpreted your earlier remark to imply there are more retirees than currently contributing employees. You and I both know that is not, nor will it ever be, the case. Thank you for your clarification.

In response, lets do a math problem, let me know the answer.

Of the following two numbers, which is greater?

164,896 or 208,411?

The latter number is Inactive/Retired, the former is the Current Active. How can you make the statement "You and I both know that is not, nor will it ever be, the case." Not implying, just stating facts.

Shadowfax said...

http://www.oregon.gov/PERS/docs/general_information/pers_by_the_numbers_2_2011.pdf?ga=t

Shadowfax said...

Sorry. I Googled Pers MS and got oregon. Let me try again. Of course KF will shit in his britches to post my inacurate information. Apologies.

Shadowfax said...

KaPtaIn Screw-AROO: Please refer to this link. You will find on page three that at the close of 2010, there were 164,896 active working members and only 79,168 retirees (less than 1/2). The latter number, of course, includes spouses or beneficiaries of deceased retirees.

http://www.pers.state.ms.us/financials/VAL%20REPORTS/VAL%20REPORTS%202010/PERS/PERS%2006302010%20Valuation%20Report%20-%20FINAL-%20watermarked.pdf

I just called the state retirement system and was given this link. The man I spoke with said 'It's ridiculous to suggest there are more retirees than current participants'.

Kingfish said...

page 27 of 2010 audit

Kingfish said...

and I did write in my post retirees/inactive members. I never said only retirees. However, the main number to watch is the difference between benefits payments and contributions.

babysaywhat said...

Shadow, I never said ALL state employees are lazy. I'm married to a state employee! I just hear the stories of laziness and how it adds to the workload of those who actually do their job. The ones who actually get the job done are powerless because the lazy ones are never reprimanded or dismissed. And to add insult to injury, they all get the same raise and the same pension.

Shadowfax said...

babysaywhat: I've heard, and so has everybody else on here, bitching and moaning from employees of every sort that they don't get the raise they deserve and are overworked and none of their cellmates keep pace with them. What else is new?

Why in hell does Kingfish always jump in to defend the ignorant posts of Kangaroo,unless, as has been suggested, they are one and the same. Read the link dumbass. Both of you.

Anonymous said...

Shadow,

You do understand the concept of paid benefits beyond a retiree transpiring from this grand experiment called life? Yes? In other words, payments continue for spouces, dependants, etc. Go find another tree to bark up.

Ignorance must be bliss.

Anonymous said...

Why in hell does Kingfish always jump in to defend the ignorant posts of Kangaroo,unless, as has been suggested, they are one and the same.

They ain't one in the same but you go ahead and keep thinking that Potsie.

KaptKangaroo said...

I am going to take the last comment one step further for the sake of Shadow's continued ignorance. We do enjoy when you go off on these tangents that present nothing of value....

From the PERS link you provided...

Upon the death of a member who has completed at least eight years* of membership service, a benefit is payable, in lieu of a refund of the member’s accumulated contributions, to his or her spouse, if said spouse has been married to the member for not less than one year.

Shadow, may I ask a question? Do you have any personal or professional affiliation with PERS? Just wondering.

Shadowfax said...

No, as I've said several times, I have no dawg in this hunt. I just enjoy being able to do minimal research to fact check things that are obviously posted in error. For example, your claim that there are more retirees than participants. Inactive participants, of course, includes everybody who ever worked for the state but no longer does, whether they're eligible to retire or ever will be. There's a man living on the back of my property who worked for the Health Department for two or three years some time ago. He's considered an inactive participant but will never qualify to draw retirement. He can withdraw his contributions if he wants to.

I can't understand why you would post that blurb about contributions being payable to a survivor in the case of a participant's death. Do you suggest those contributions NOT be payable to a survivor.

And to the poster who claims that when a retiree dies, payments continue to be made to 'spouces', that isn't always the case either. At retirement, according to the information sent by PERS, the retiree can elect a smaller monthly retirement check if he/she wants a survivor to be covered. According to two retired acquaintences who made that election, the payment to a survivor is calculated dependent on his or her age and the payment to the retiree is adjusted accordingly. In other words, if a chosen survivor/beneficiary is 20 years old (life expectance being what it is), the retiree would receive much less in benefits since a beneficiary is going to be paid for quite a while.

All of this information is available either on line or by calling PERS. No reason for guesswork or hyperbole.

Anonymous said...

I just enjoy being able to do minimal research to fact check things that are obviously posted in error.

The operative word regarding your efforts being minimal.

Anonymous said...

I'm a state retiree drawing just over a thousand a month after 32 years. What ShadowF has said is factual according to my understanding. If our system needs to be shored up, fine, but let's not over react.

KaptKangaroo said...

Are you certain of the "inactive" definition?

Inactive I believe refers to "future liability" whether currently collecting or not. That said, it would include everyone who worked 8 years and is vested in the pension.

I would see no reason to include those who have worked for the state and no claim on collecting a pension.

So the next step is lets look at the actual dollars.
1. What is the growth rate in payouts, and
2. What are the unfunded future liabilities (and their growth rate)?
3. Lets equate current pay into the pension with the pay out and the corresponding contributions.

One figure that kinda shocked me was the 12% contribution by the state and the growth rate over the past few years. All those who claim taxes are not backstopping the pension are incorrect. The state gets its money from where?

KaptKangaroo said...

Also, your minutia regarding the comment about someone who can collect after two years the money they paid into the penssion is very curious.

I've not been able to find or substantiate it, but it makes sense you would know details that specific.

KaptKangaroo said...

The reason for including the section on survivor benefits is to get your expert clarification on whether or not they are included in the "inactive" or "retired" count.

Anonymous said...

What I do NOT see, is the liability should the state lay off a large group of state employees, and those former employees who are not vested rollout their paid-in contributions to an outside IRA.

I still think it's ridiculous state employees have to contribute 9% to a system with no say whatsoever over the investments.

I also don't see anything in the reports about the "middle man", the investment advisor who sets up the investments with an outside third party manager.

That is a large chunk of commissions NOT needed, if PERS would just hire their own in-house investment person, and I mean a licensed, experience investment person.

Anonymous said...

For people who want to know who gets how much at PERS, please look at their handbook. Pages 12-15 and pages 22-37 appear to answer many of the questions posted here.

http://www.pers.state.ms.us/pdf/memberservices/handbooks/Member_Handbook_2011.pdf

I don't know if that link will work, so also go to their website (www.pers.state.ms.us) and look for the link to their handbook on the right side of the page, close to the top.

All this was helpful to figure out my mom's retirement.

Anonymous said...

Shadow stop posting anonymously.

Shadowfax said...

Kangaroo; I'm sure even you know that an employee who leaves the system can draw down his contributions. I didn't mention two years nor does that have anything to do with two years. It's not unlike an employee who is forced to participate in a 401(k) program. Many quit and immediately draw down their funds. It's most typical among manufacturing employees. No difference.

Of course any state employee can do that. Are you surprised? I'm often taken aback at your ignorance. You seem to be quite the financial guru. Why didn't Haley put you on his committee? You'd be the perfect naysayer at the corner of the table and nobody would speak to you at break.

PS: I have no need to post anonymously. I leave that to Kingfish and Kangaroo.

Shadowfax said...

Kangaroo; one reason to include the ones you find questionable is that their funds (that they actually own) are still left in the system and they can draw it down any time they want to. Sort of like dormant accounts that the bank does not (yet) own.

Its four years, not eight, that qualifies one for state retirement at a certain age, I do believe.

Anonymous said...

I actually am not Shadow, who I consider to be a complete ass 99% of the time. I just thought looking at source material might be helpful. I realize that handbooks or regulations have no place in a pissing match, but for anyone who is interested in seeing how the PERS stuff is supposed to work, please check them out.

KaptKangaroo said...

Shadow, my ignorance surrounds the undefined "Inactive/Retired" numbers that were published. I've not seen an explanation for this number in the material I have reviewed and not seen a per individual contribution percentage (ie. one person supports how many retired regardless of status). THIS is a number we should be talking about. The number we are debating is still undefined in my mind as % of:
1. Paid in inactive able to draw
2. Paid in inactive full-pension (vested)
3. Paid in retired full-pension
4. Paid in deceased spouse benefits

I would dive through the numbers and get detailed, but busy today. Maybe tonight.

Shadowfax said...

I don't know the answers to those questions. I respectfully suggest you call the PERS telephone number. The young man was very helpful when I called yesterday and walked me through their site and instructed my dumb ass where to click for the answers I wanted. Very helpful fellow.

Its good to see a disinterested party running a parallel investigation to that of Haley's boys. Hampton may feature you right beside McElwain one Sunday, depending on your recommendations.

Anonymous said...

OK, I worked for PERS about 6 years ago. Points of interest:

* "Inactive" members are those who are no longer employed by a public entity and aren't putting money into the system, BUT they don't refund their contributions.

* If they didn't become vested before leaving public employment, then they will never get a "benefit." All they will ever be able to do is refund their own contributions (not employer contributions) and whatever interest that money has earned.

* If an inactive member IS vested when leaving employment, he or she CAN apply for a lifetime benefit at some point, usually in their 60's (very few inactive members have 25 years). But that benefit will be probably be pretty small, as benefits are based in-part on the years you worked. Like I said, very few inactive members have a whole lot of years.

* There are THOUSANDS of inactive members on the PERS rolls who have been inactive for decades. The agency has tried to find them or their beneficiaries to arrange a refund, to no avail. PERS lists those people with the Treasurer's Office "Unclaimed Money" program every year.

* When someone refunds, they have to refund ALL of it -- there isn't "drawing down" in the typical sense, it's all or nothing. And when someone refunds, they also lose all that service credit AND any vested status they had. For example, if someone refunded their contributions in 2006, and then went back to work in 2008, they not only lost the credit they had, they lost their 4-year vested status and went under 8-year vesting. Anyone who refunds and then goes back to work for the public starts fresh at whatever the retirement policies at the time of going back.

* Keep in mind that there's a age limit on a lot of survivor benefits. Dependent children are covered only until 18, or 13 (I think) if they stay in school and remain unmarried. If an 80-year old retiree marries a 20-year old, that young person will NOT be getting the same amount the retiree got for life -- PERS has to follow IRS age limitations.

* PERS used to give the Board informatiom about the breakdown of benefits being paid -- how much to surivors, how much to retirees, etc.

* I'm not sure that a "one person supports X retirees" figure would really mean much. Only the employees' contributions are credited to his or her name -- the employer's contributions go to the overall support of the system. It's two different categories of money, and it's the second one that retirees are paid out of. Also, ever employee contributes based on his or her salary, so there's not really a standard number you could use -- all contributions would need to be equal for such a ratio to apply across the board. Not suggesting that the increasing number of retirees verses the dwindling number of active employees isn't an issue to look at, it's just I don't think that kind of ratio really tells you what you want to know.

I still know a lot of employees at PERS and it bothers me how all of this mess has kind of made them look like bad, irresponsible people. There are a lot of good people who work there in all areas, including investments. If someone has a beef with the way the fund is run, take it up with the Board. The majority of the staff there, who are just trying to help people who want to retire, don't deserve to be painted with the same brush.

Finally, all of the increases in benefits that were SO expensive came from the Legislature, NOT the PERS Board or staff. It kind of bugs me to hear legislators who voted in favor of those benefit increases try to blame everyone in the world for the financial issues. If the Leg hadn't passed all those changes in the late 90's, PERS would be in a totally different situation.

My two cents.

Shadowfax said...

Great post, 6:17; but, not exactly what this crowd wants to hear. They're too much into blood in the water. Thank you for detailing these facts.

KaptKangaroo said...

Ah, Shadow, actually, the information posted provides several avenues for illustrating the need for reconsideration from this point forward. Those already retired join a closed pension. Those new can join lets say, a 401k?

The Closed Pension is preserved and retirees receive their pension. Current funding could be achieved say through those "normal" downturns that will eventually turn into "up-turns" Shadow.

The newly empowered State employees would now have control over their own retirement instead of the State.

Great post 6:17 PM.

Anonymous said...

Actually Shadowhackjob thanks to 6:17 some of the gross inaccuracies you've been spewing here have now been debunked.

shadowfax said...

8:22, if you can cite one inaccuracy I posted that has been debunked by 6:17, I'll eat your tinfoil hat.

However, this bullet point is wrong according to what I was told when I called PERS: "Inactive" members are those who are no longer employed by a public entity and aren't putting money into the system, BUT they don't refund their contributions".

My reason for saying it's wrong is that the PERS employee told me that any prior participant, once having left the system, is entitled to a refund of his contributions. The only contributions not refunded or paid out through retirement are those that go unclaimed or those for which application is never made.

Anonymous said...

You actually have to say something of substance before you can point out an inaccuracy in your statements SF.

Shadowfax said...

As I said, let me know when you can cite anything I have posted as inaccurate or corrected by the gentleman at 6:17. If I've made an inaccurate statement re PERS benefits, I'll stand corrected and apologize for it.

And, as an aside, perhaps if Kingfish would take his investigations a notch higher and discuss the issues with PERS' 'constituent services employees', we'd have the facts up front. All it takes is a phone call or two.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS
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