Thursday, January 7, 2016

PERS plods along but is it recovering?

The Mississippi Public Employees Retirement System continued to plod along in 2015 as it got up off the canvas after the 2008 knockdown but is not yet ready to start throwing punches either.  The markets slightly smiled on PERS in 2015 as the program enjoyed a rate of return that was only 3.5%.  However, the system did catch a break as not as many Mississippi public employees retired as they have in past years. Unfortunately, the amount of money between contributions to the system and what was paid to beneficiaries grew to an unprecedented level of nearly $800 million. The average retirement benefit is $23,169 per year. 

The problem PERS faces is structural in nature.  The retirees and other beneficiaries continue to grow in number but the contributions paid into the system continue to fall.  The ratio of active workers to retirees has fallen from  2.4 in 2006 to 1.6 in 2015.  The PERS portfolio earned a return of 18% in 2014 but the growth in retirees prevented it from enjoying the full benefits of that return.  The slightly positive rate of return in 2015 was not enough to keep the funding level from falling by half a point.  The deficit's growth ate up nearly all of the investment income. PERS also increased the amortization period to 32 years.  See the numbers for yourself. 

The total assets are $24.838 billion.  The total assets are nearly back at the 2008 level but fell slightly from $24.877 billion in 2014* as the low rate of return and larger deficit nibbled on them.

The rate of return was only 3.5% in 2015 and thus below the assumed rate of return of 7.75%.  PERS lowered the assumed rate of return from 8.0% this year.  However, the 2014 rate of return was 18%.  PERS "smooths" the rate of returns so one great or horrible year doesn't skew things.  The five-year average is 12.2%. 

However, here is the real problem for PERS:

 The retirees keep growing and growing and growing.  There were approximately 63,900 retirees in 2005.  However, there were 96,300 retirees in 2015- an increase of roughly 50%.  The rate of growth for ten years is 2,560 new retirees per year.  However, that rate has jumped up to 3,440 new retirees per year for the last five years.   That is why the funding level hasn't recovered despite good returns in the market.  It doesn't matter how well PERS is managed if the number of employees retiring each year swamps the income received from investments.

This chart shows how the growth in retirees is wreaking havoc on the financial structure of PERS:

What does this chart mean? It means that the amount of money received from employees and employers is not enough to cover the payments to PERS beneficiaries and the problem is growing worse each year.

Contributions come in, payments go out.  PERS had a great year in the markets in 2014 yet the deficit grew to over $702 million.  Investment income was $4 billion so PERS could easily handle the deficit and still add plenty of money to the assets side of the ledger.  However, the 3.5% 2015 return meant PERS only received $846 million in investment income.  The $784,209 deficit nearly ate all of the investment income for last year.  All of it.  If the retiree growth holds to the five-year average, then PERS needs to earn a great return on investments in 2016.

Keep this in mind: PERS earned a positive rate of return on investments and still lost ground.  The deficit between payments and contributions still grew each year, a fact completely ignored by PERS defenders.  The PERS defenders have gone from the "we will be fine once the markets return" mantra to one that is "we have plenty of money to cover our current obligations".  About those obligations.

The unfunded liabilities are $15.977 billion in 2015.  They were $14.445 billion in 2014.  They were $10 billion in 2010.  The unfunded liabilities increased 50% in only six years.

It doesn't matter how good the markets are to PERS or what  the Wall Street Wizards can do if the retiree growth continues to swamp the returns.  PERS can't return to the desired funding level of 80% if it can't manage the growing deficit.   The markets came back five years ago for PERS but the funding level has not yet done so. That is the real story of PERS.

*This post is using fiscal years, not calendar years.  Each fiscal year ends on June 30.  The annual actuarial report is released at the October meeting of the board of trustees.

Additional facts: 

End of year annual benefits payments
2015: $2.116 billion
2014: $1.998 billion

Total Pension Liability
2015: $40.3 billion
2014: $37.0 billion

5 year smoothing: 11.9%

Rates of return since 2000
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%
2012: 0.6%
2013: 13.4%
2014: 18.3%
2015: 3.5%

5-year average: 12.16%
Rate of return since 2000: 6.2%

Retiree Growth
2003: 2,700
2004: 3,000
2005: 1,500
2006: 2,800
2007: 4,000
2008: 2,800
2009: 2,600
2010: 3,000
2011: 4,000
2012: 3,700
2013: 3,400
2014: 3,300
2015: 2,800

Ten year average: 2,560
Five year: 3,440

Kingfish note: Oh, and the managers' fees were $88 million.  The report was presented to the board at its October meeting.  No media besides JJ attended the presentation. The complete video will be uploaded later today. It is a 5 gb file and has to be split into several videos. 


Anonymous said...

The ratio of active workers to retirees has fallen from 2.4 in 2006 to 1.6 in 2015

Sooner or later all Ponzi schemes fail.

Anonymous said...

But this one is backed by the full faith and credit of the state.

Anonymous said...

A large part of the problem is in the funding levels -- employees contribute a mandatory 9% to the plan but employers drop in an additional 15.75% "match" to meet the defined benefit levels. If state employees were permitted to opt out in favor of the deferred conpensation plan, that might relieve some of the imbalance.

Anonymous said...

Illinois here we come!

Anonymous said...

We contribute more than 9%. Can't recall percentage but it's on pers website. Pretty sure it's more than 9%.

Anonymous said...

Imagine the kind of retirement fund you could have if you put in a mandatory 24.75% of your salary for your entire career. Dang.

Anonymous said...

Changes in return from year to year has little effect since the formulas project an average. Also, the formulas consider ages and years of service so if no one retired one year, there would be little effect on the funding deficit.

The real problem is that contributions do not cover costs over the long haul. Our top elected officials know this, but no one does anything about it. Same as the federal government, just kick the can down the road and let it be someone else's problem. Not going to let this hurt my reelection. Gonna decrease taxes.

We have a bunch of elected officials only interested in themselves.

Anonymous said...

It has long been known in actuary circles that it takes a total contribution rate of between 22-24% of salary to create a 50% pension with no allowance for a COLA. We have underfunded this number for nearly the entire history of PERS. And with the 13th check, that is an effective permanent drag on the investment returns of the assets. So while the gross rate of return may have been 6.2% since 2000, the "real" return was under 4%. And since all investment returns are factors of the growth of GDP plus interest rates that reflect inflation, PERS is going to sadly find that their assumed rate of return of 7.75% will never be achieved unless the growth rate of our economy doubles from where it is now to a level (4% GDP growth) that many believe is no longer attainable for an extended period of time. Absent a significant increase in funding levels or an elimination of the COLA, both politically radio-active, we probably have already passed the point of no return for the funding levels, as we will never again see the asset high water mark we had in 2008.

Anonymous said...

2:59, you mention 'one' of the 'real problems'. The first real problem is that this is a defined benefit plan - something that most every private business did away with years ago, and in fact the federal government did away with in thirty something years ago. But our politicians aren't willing to take on the ire of the government tit-suckers that scream anytime anything is done to their many perks (see vacation days, sick leave, retirement, health, and 'tenure' as a beginning.)

One of the real scam of PERS is that employees get benefits based on their 'high four' years of service. There are more than can be counted on fingers and toes of an entire college football team that spend a few years on the public payroll at a relatively high salary, but get the rest of their 25 years in by serving on a board, commission, or in some capacity such as 'attorney' for a few hundred dollars a month - and at their retirement get retirement as if they had worked the entire period at a hundred thousand a year.

While all the state employees bitch about their 'low pay' - ask them to find anywhere else they can find an employee giving such nice retirement benefits (including, of course, their sacred thirteenth check) and an employee contribution more than half again as high as their contribution. (And yes, state employee at 2:53, all you contribute is 9% - go back to playing solitare on your state computer.)

Anonymous said...

Full faith and credit is all you've got left @1:31 because the plan is tanking. Longer it takes for participants to scream at the Legislature to fix the mess the worse it gets and the greater the odds that some level of haircut will become inevitable.

Anonymous said...

Wrong @2:53, it's 9 percent. Employer portion in 15.75
The main problem with this is baby-boomers, a known problem. Same problem with Social Security.

Anonymous said...

Change it from a defined benefit to a defined contribution plan. This can be done just like the feds did in 1982 when they ended the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) for all new employees.

New employees were entered into the Thrift Savings Plan where they could direct the investment program - at least to some degree. Existing employees could opt to stay in CSRS or enter TSP - what happened was most fed employees that had many years stayed in CSRS. Those that had only a few years transferred their benefits to TSP.

Worked fine for the feds - and got them out of this antiquated model. Time for the legislature to grow a pair and take on this problem head on. Hell, even the auto makers got away from defined benefit plans. Ohh -- that's right. They had to go through bankruptcy with the feds bailing them out because of their pension plans before they made the change. Not a good road map for our great state.

Anonymous said...

Everyone wants to cut the deficit and spend more responsibly as long as you are discussing cuts in general. As soon as you get to the specifics then nobody wants to cut anything. You won't find any PERS person who doesn't feel entitled to their 13th check and if the system goes bankrupt then so be it, as long as it happens after they are gone.

Anonymous said...

What would be the mean retirement amount and not average amount ?
As for being underpaid, look at the starting salaries offered by this State.
I'd venture the State's starting salaries are 30 percent lower than comparable
jobs in the private sector. The problem appears to me to be the State not funding
PERS as required by law and the ratio of retirees to workers. That ratio should
correct itself somewhat as the retirees die off. Knowing if the bulk of retirees were
Close to falling of the rolls would tell us a lot.

Kingfish's Annual PERS Erection said...

There is no such thing as 'tenure' among state employees.

Board members and commissioners are not state employees and do not contribute to nor benefit from PERS.

There is not a soul living who doesn't understand that, by law, the PERS program is a defined benefit program. So, quit bringing it up like you've discovered something earth-shattering.

Be thankful Mississippi has no unionized public employees while you're comparing the system to Illinois.

Employees retired with 30 years of state service, drawing a nineteen thousand dollar annual retirement with a $2400 thirteenth check are indeed getting rich on the state teat.

No taxpayer's money funds the state retirement system. So quit bitching about your taxes paying for the retirement of state employees who have been in the trenches for 25, 30, 40 years.

All employer provided pension programs are defined benefit retirement programs. A pension program is based on years of employment calculated to a formula, not the stock market or other variables. Those are NOT 401k programs. If, for example, your employer's plan provides for a thirty year retirement at a variable of $26 per year for each year worked, you will draw $780 per month for the rest of your life. That's defined benefit and many employers still offer that. Some even offer it to salaried exempt employees in addition to a 401k.

Anonymous said...

Now I've seen it all. Flaccid @7:06 PM thinking that they are erect.

Anonymous said...

Taxpayer money does fund the state retirement system, you dufus. Where do you think the state agencies, towns, counties get the money to pay their portion of the contribution? When the required employer contribution went up last year then budgets had to be adjusted for the increase.
My beef is with the 13th check, why pay it at all. Make the amount you are paid not be based on your highest 4 years but on an average over a longer period. I know of a teacher that taught extra for the 4 years to boost the retirement average and did increase his percent by over 25%.

Anonymous said...

1) "There is no such thing as 'tenure' among state employees. "

BS, you uninformed moron. I was a tenured faculty member at UMMC until I quit. My spouse still is.

2) "What would be the mean retirement amount and not average amount ? "

They are the same. Duh - JPS grad?

3) When I was recruited by UMMC I realized the PERS program was a great deal for people who empty wastebaskets and answer phones, especially if they stay rooted in a MS gubmint job until they retire. However, for someone with the potential to make a lot more money in the private sector at some point it was a bad position to lock yourself into. I took the OPR, the optional alternative, and when I left I had a few hundred thousand in accounts that I control, and not subject to the vagaries of the Mississippi legislature or courts if and when I decide to retire and cash out. No matter what retirees and legislators may wish for, ARITHMETIC ALWAYS WINS.

Anonymous said...

KF-why report on underpaid, under appreciated state employees? It just stirs up hatters. A REAL story is on the SLURP (retirement plan for legislators), how they spend their campaign contributions, how much they get in salary, travel, per diem, etc. AND why they won't end the session early (because it will decrease how much they get paid). That's the real story, not $20,000/year state employees. Why won't you tell the real story?!?!? Could it be because these theifs..,uh, I mean politicians pay to advertise on your blog?!?!? Certainly not (as I clutch my pearls in astonishment).

Anonymous said...

The Clarion-Ledger reported just a few years ago that the Legislature appropriated $31,000,000 for education. Of that figure, $21,000,000 went to PERS.

God Help The Ignorant said...

What is meant by 'taxpayers not paying for the system' is that the idiots who claim "My taxes went up to pay for PERS" are rooted in ignorance. And no, not all employers covered by the system get their contribution money from Mississippi taxpayers. Several agencies are 100% federally funded and do not operate with Mississippi tax dollars. Education is your friend.

I don't know about 'tenure' at UMMC, but I do know tenure is not a term applicable to 95% of the covered employees. There are no employee unions in Mississippi, public school employees are not tenured, nor are municipal employees or state employees working in agencies at the service level. UMMC seems to be a complex, secretive, untouchable island unto itself. Who knew?

The egotistical nerd at 9:25 who thinks the thousands of employees who work in PERS covered positions are emptying wastebaskets and answering telephones is surely better off where he is now. And so are the state employees who no longer have to suffer his presence. And he actually believe that, among a set of numbers, the mean and the average are the same.

Anonymous said...

For the egghead whose wife is still dumping garbage cans at UMMC:

"The term "arithmetic mean" is preferred in some contexts in mathematics and statistics because it helps distinguish it from other means, such as the geometric mean and the harmonic mean. So, mean does not always equate to average.

In addition to mathematics and statistics, the arithmetic mean is used frequently in fields such as economics, sociology, and history, and it is used in almost every academic field to some extent. For example, per capita income is the arithmetic average income of a nation's population.

While the arithmetic mean is often used to report central tendencies, it is not a robust statistic (while average is), meaning that it is greatly influenced by outliers (values that are very much larger or smaller than most of the values).

Notably, for skewed distributions, such as the distribution of income for which a few people's incomes are substantially greater than most people's, the arithmetic mean may not accord with one's notion of "middle", and robust statistics, such as the median, may be a better description of central tendency."

I will now raise my feet while your wife vacuums under my desk.

Clutching At Pearls, Indeed said...

"All Ponzi schemes eventually fail".

Cute and overused, but trite and not always true. State retirement programs are not Ponzi schemes to begin with. A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation where the operator, an individual or organization, pays returns to its investors from new capital paid to the operators by new investors, rather than from profit earned by the operator. Therein lies your misunderstanding.

Ponzis that are illegal are fraudulent and built on deception. I suppose you consider the social security program to be a Ponzi as well. It's not. The only way the PERS system will fail and collapse is if contributions cease or tweaks are not employed on a timely basis (only when needed). No different from the highway system. If not maintained it will eventually collapse.

The uninformed who constantly harp that the program should be changed from defined benefit to defined contribution simply don't understand the fact that the program was created by state law. I can't think of a pension program that's not defined benefit. Simply put, it means guaranteed.

Kingfish said...

Nice to see that Mr. Drane, er I mean shadowfax, has appeared. Nothing draws him out like a PERS post does.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I should have written median instead of mean. Posted without proofreading.
I would suspect using the median would give a better picture of what a typical
State retiree receives. Go look on the State job listings and note the starting
salaries. Most of the jobs posted pay poorly, even when calculating pension

Anonymous said...

the irony associated with the ~5:00 turd is the blind hypocrisy of his posts. not too many intelligent individuals would state that PERS or SSA were not ponzis or design as such from the beginning.

direct quoting from wikipedia and then being openly hypocritical makes the posts sad/funny (as opposed to ha-ha/funny)

the attempted comparison to highways makes as much sense as dry water

Kingfish said...

KF-why report on underpaid, under appreciated state employees? It just stirs up hatters. A REAL story is on the SLURP (retirement plan for legislators), how they spend their campaign contributions, how much they get in salary, travel, per diem, etc. AND why they won't end the session early (because it will decrease how much they get paid). That's the real story, not $20,000/year state employees. Why won't you tell the real story?!?!? Could it be because these theifs..,uh, I mean politicians pay to advertise on your blog?!?!? Certainly not (as I clutch my pearls in astonishment).

See folks, this is what they do. Merely looking at something that is worth $25 BILLION dollars is picking on state employees. People such as this commentor are not interested in having a discussion about PERS nor do they want you even looking at the balance sheets. If he had his way, nothing would be posted on the PERS website for you to see.

The reader is either a liar or just plain ignorant. It was this website that focused on SLRP. IT has been this website that has repeatedly reported on SLRP. The SLRP fund is however, only $20 million. That is not even 0.01% of the PERS portfolio. It is an abuse of power and shows how the legislature has a separate standard for itself as it lines its pockets. There is a search box at the top of the page. Enter "SLRP".

However, if SLRP suffers, the rest of the state won't suffer for it . If PERS suffers, the rest of the state will. It is that simple. However, little lying scumbags such as this guy don't want you to look at PERS. You are picking on the members if you do. $25 billion.

Kingfish said...

I'm going to report on SLRP next week. I never cover all of the systems in one post. Here are the previous posts on SLRP, idiot.

Still SLRPing
Legislators still SLRPing at the trough
WLBT covers SLRP last night
SLRP now has over $13 million
SLRP fund has over $11 million
WLBT covers SLRP
When do we stop the legislature from double-dipping?
SLRP: Supplemental Legislative Retirement Plan or Pigs SLRPing at a trough?

Anonymous said...

It just stirs up hatters.

Never understood in the first place why someone in the business of making and selling hats would get particularly peeved over your reporting on PERS.

Anonymous said...

I believe the taxpayers' contribute rate on SLRP is around 35% of salary. that is unheard of anywhere else. All those "conservatives" should end that.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Smug UMMC "tenured faculty" member (@ 9:25 pm): only FACULTY can accrue tenure in this state. Also, you seem to be ignorant of the fact that the "optional" plan to which you make reference is ONLY available to a special class of state employees: university/college faculty members. I suspect many other state employees would welcome the opportunity to opt out for the deferred compensation plan, but they are statutorily straightjacketed into the PERS defined benefit plan. As one other poster notes, when the federal government converted the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) over to the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), it put control -- and responsibility -- for retirement in the hands of employees. Of course, our paternalistic state leaders would never trust state employees to plan for the own retirement, which is why they are all locked into the PERS approach, no matter how sound or unsound it is.

Anonymous said...

One thing that seldom, if ever, gets reported is that elected officials get a "bonus" on their retirement from PERS as compared to employees. Some 30 days are added for each year of service. so if someone serves for say 25 years, they get an additional 3 years added to their service time. That translates to an extra 12% of their retirement benefit.

Anonymous said...

You can't pull one of the three legs out from underneath the Ponzi @9:56 AM. You should know that.

Anonymous said...

@January 8, 2016 at 4:58 AM LOL! Mr. UMMC just cut from wikipedia! chump

Anonymous said...

The management fees are ludicrous. PERS could hire their own investment people, and negotiate very low fees for investment accounts with third party managers, instead of using their investment buddies to open the same type of accounts, then getting a third party manager, with BOTH getting "management" fees.

I don't know WHY PERS doesn't just hire their own investment professionals on salary. It would save a lot of money.

Anonymous said...

January 8, 2016 at 10:00 AM, that's not really a bonus, it is a substitute for vacation and leave time. Elected officials are effectively always on duty and don't accumulate leave or vacation time like regular employees while non-elected officials can cash in their unused vacation or leave time at retirement.

Scoundrels All said...

If Rita Martinson, et al, had had their way a few years back, and passed a new bill before reading it, SLURP benefits would have effectively doubled.

All legislative bodies at every level are populated by scoundrels. Never doubt that.

Anonymous said...

What does Rita Martinson have to do with this ??

Anonymous said...

She was instrumental, several times, in increasing her own benefits. She came from the Charlie Capps school of self protection. When the attempt was made fifteen years ago to double the benefits provided by SLURP, she was contacted by a group from her district. She said she had voted for it but had not read or understood it.

Now you know 10:10. Try to keep up.

Anonymous said...

A couple of random comments:

Several years ago, someone who is a state employee in Alabama told me their retirement benefits are calculated on the average of the last four years worked.

As far as an optional retirement program in this state's higher education sector, the ORP is available not only for faculty but for administrators at a certain level and for coaches, who by nature of that profession are transient. They are not required to participate in PERS.

Anonymous said...

If your husband ever came home every day for years covered in mud from head to toe from working ditches, backhoe maintenance or crawling through sewers, you would be thankful for his $800 monthly define benefit pension. But it cost him most of that to continue his family insurance. So, while you make fun of everybody on the state retirement program, don't be so quick to judge.

Anonymous said...

9:56(Jan 8th) - appreciate your chiming in supporting the idea of changing to an employee controlled system but I differ from you as to why we won't see it. Many of the folks that you refer to as "paternalistic state leaders" who won't change this system would love to make the changes that they know need to be done. But they are afraid of losing their jobs to the very people they would be helping - the state employees that bitch anytime anybody mentions their sacred retirement benefits. Two years ago the legislator from Oxford mentioned the idea of giving new employees the opportunity of choosing their benefit plan and his Democrat opponent this year beat him over the head with it with ads claiming he was trying to eliminate state employee benefits.

Reading the state employee comments here shows the attitude. Claims that MS employee starting salaries are lower than neighboring states - ignores the study made a few years ago of state salaries here and neighboring states that lead to large pay increases for most everybody (except MDOT). Defending the 13th check; claiming that there is no tenure. Yes, there is not tenure but try to find a state employee that has been terminated - almost as bad as the federal employment record. Defending the defined benefit plan that everybody except the unions has done away with. And, of course, most idiotic saying that the taxpayers dont pay anything for the retirement system - does that mean that we can eliminate the 15.5% of each employees salary that comes out of the general fund and goes into PERS?

Anonymous said...

It is not that tax payers are having to pay more taxes right now because of PERS being underfunded, but rather that sooner or later it could become so underfunded that there will be no choice but to ask to add funds from the general tax revenues to prop PERS up. The Republican controlled legislature is looking to severly cut the budgets of several departments, which surely would cause layoffs of state employees. If that happens I am curious what the ratio of current employees and retired employees will become.

Where To Begin..... said...

Not sure where to start with the Gump at 5:25 but will take a stab at it:

"...the state employees that bitch anytime anybody mentions their sacred retirement benefits."

Isn't everybody's retirement system sacred to them, including yours?

"Claims that MS employee starting salaries are lower than neighboring states - ignores the study made a few years ago of state salaries here and neighboring states that lead to large pay increases for most everybody (except MDOT)."

Care to back that up? You can't. Know why? It never happened. Studies for the past forty years have typically shown Mississippi lagging behind the regional average and the pay of neighboring states in most categories. It's not unusual (and has been this way for forty years, for state employees to go 5-7 years with no pay adjustment. Following that 5-7 year drought, it's often followed by a 2-3% increase. There's occasional 'realignment', a term used to have rates fall in line with other states and our state's compensation plan (which has never been funded).

"Yes, there is not tenure but try to find a state employee that has been terminated - almost as bad as the federal employment record."

Another comment you cannot back up nor defend. You have no knowledge of the 'federal employment record' or of the number of state employees terminated, demoted and sanctioned. If you had access to employee termination records of the various agencies or that are maintained by the system, you'd see just what a gourd-head you are for making that comment.

"And, of course, most idiotic saying that the taxpayers dont pay anything for the retirement system - does that mean that we can eliminate the 15.5% of each employees salary that comes out of the general fund and goes into PERS?"

No it doesn't mean that at all. Primarily because employer contributions do NOT come out of the general fund.

Take a seat 5:25. You failed miserably. Your ignorance is appalling.

Kingfish said...

One thing to remember is that if government is cut, that reduces the number of employees paying into the system.

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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