Thursday, March 2, 2017

Fitch: MPACT-Legacy has $12.6 million shortfall

Mississippi Treasurer Lynn Fitch issued the following press release.

MPACT-Legacy Shortfall Now at $12.6 Million
Legislature can lessen the burden on taxpayers by acting now

Jackson, MSIn her capacity as Chair of the Board of Directors of the College Savings Plans of Mississippi, Treasurer Lynn Fitch delivered a letter and resolution to the Legislature yesterday asking for a special appropriation of $12.6 million for Fiscal Year 2018 to address funding liabilities in the Legacy Program of the Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition program (MPACT).

“The steps taken by the Board to restructure MPACT have restored the financial health of the program going forward,” said Treasurer Lynn Fitch.  “Our Horizon Program is not only meeting, but exceeding our funding targets.  It is cost-neutral to taxpayers and cost-effective for Mississippi savers.”

“But, the Legacy Program still carries a funding shortfall from before its restructuring,” continued Fitch.  “That program is only 72.1% funded and failure to address the shortfall in funding will lead to insolvency by 2025.  The Legislature can either address the shortfall in smaller yearly increments, as the Board suggests, or it can make up the shortfall upon insolvency as Mississippi students matriculate.  MPACT carries the full faith and credit of the State, so taxpayers will pay for it one way or another.”

Shortly after Fitch took office as Treasurer, in the Fall of 2012, she and the Board deferred enrollment in MPACT to have its first actuarial audit performed, analyzing the long-term sustainability of the program.  Contracts existing at that time, known as Legacy Contracts, continued to receive benefits throughout that time.  New contracts issued after MPACT enrollment was reopened in October 2014 became known as Horizon Contracts, and are structured differently. 

Pursuant to a funding policy established by the Board as part of the restructuring, when the Legacy Program fails to hit its funding target (100%), the Board will request a special appropriation of 10% of the shortfall from the Legislature.  The amount of the requested cash infusion to cover the Fiscal Year 2016 shortfall is $12,646,987.

This is the fourth year the Board has asked the Legislature to address the Legacy Program shortfall with a special appropriation.  The previous three requests went unanswered. 

The Treasurer’s letter, as well as the Board’s resolution, are attached.  The actuarial reports can be found at


Anonymous said...

Gotta hand it to her. She is a good campaigner.

Guaranteeing to cover an unknown cost 18 years down the road is a bad idea for government. Certainly not the "role" of government.

This promise involves two things....a good rate of return on the investments made by individuals and controlling the growth of college costs....two things that government is known to NOT be good at.

Anonymous said...

Anyone have the pamphlets they were handing out on this program.

I believe it was "lock your tuition rate in now."

So kids could lock $1000 for tuition at a University and the state did not consider inflation or cost of attendance. So now the kids are going to Ole Miss paying $1000 for tuition when the real cost is $4000 a semester and the tax payer is having to pick up the 3,000 tab on the rest of the bill.

So basically the State tax payer is paying for IHL, MCCB, 3/4 of tuition for this student, the pell grant(federal), subsidized student loan(federal){tax payers pay the interest}.

There is a problem here.

Anonymous said...

Lynn Fitch is proof positive that neither party has a "bench" from which to pull candidates for statewide office.

Anonymous said...

Tate Reeves dropped the ball on MPACT big time.

Harken A Name Of Old.. said...

Right....The person we need to resurrect and put in charge of these programs is Jere Nash. He knew his way around. Andy Taggart will vouch for him.

Anonymous said...

There appears to be a shortfall in every part of state government---maybe we need to punt and start over.

Ms. Fitch is spending to much promoting Lynn Fitch--television, magazines, news papers, etc.---who is paying for that ?????????

I'm afraid the State is going to end up just like Jackson---BROKE.

Anonymous said...

Don't know Lynn, didn't vote for Lynn but looks to me all she is doing or has done is saying "this dog ain't gonna hunt" as structured. Looks like the folks that set it up miscalcuted a bit. Kinda like the folks that bought a house with a big ballon payment that. Would be covered by appreciation only it went down not up.

Anonymous said...

This is Marshal Bennet's fault - he sold this bill of goods to the legislature in the late 90's. Tater and Ms Fitch, or whichever name she is using now as a last moniker inherited a dog that aint gonna hunt. Legislature liked it because it gave something else away, sounded good to those that controlled the legislature back then. But just like the PERS issues, it was oversold and underfunded and the legislature isn't willing to deal with the problem. Not then, not now.

Anonymous said...

12:58 - that's a golden oldie to blame Marshall Bennett - our current Lt. Governor championed and personally advertised this poorly planned program while he was state treasurer, then defended it when Lynn Fitch told us it was underfunded, insolvent, after he ascended to his latest position - this deficit should be laid directly at the Lt. Governor's feet.

Happy MPACT owner said...

Here's where the rubber meets the road -- In November 2012 Ms Fitch told the Senate Finance committee the treasury "wasn't aware MPACT needed to maintain a return on its investments of 7.8% but only yielded 0.6% last year (2011)". The average return for 15 years, she said, has been about 4.3%." This was reported in the Clarion-Ledger. She also said the cost of college education was rising and adding pressure to the fund. She also noted Mississippi has only one of four prepaid tuition programs in the nation and that one, Alabama, has closed enrollment and is tied up in a lawsuit. This looming disaster has lone roots backed by the full faith and credit of the state, for whatever that is worth. Like 12:58 said -- it was oversold and this dog ain't gonna hunt. But regardless my grandchildren are gonna go to college with it, thank you taxpayers!

Anonymous said...

1:43. Questions:

Who created the MPACT program?

Who championed it to the legislature (leadership was who?)?

Who established the guidelines - what has to be paid in, what they get in return?

I understand that once a program is established by the legislature and the act signed by the governor, the head of an agency or the elected official in who's office it is placed is to try to run the program to the best of their ability unless and until the legislature puts a stop to it. The legislature created this in the boom times of the 90's - you remember, the bubble. Everything was great, we're all making money but nobody paid attention to the fact that it was Monopoly money.

I don't remember praising Lt. Governor Reeves or Ms. Fitch. But I do note that just as with PERS the legislature is not willing to acknowledge that 7% ROI is not possible in today's market, so they keep sticking their heads in the sand and pretending like Jimmy Carter's 13% inflation will come back and save their hides. Never mind that it would kill the rest of the economy, its their only salvation in these ponzi schemes.

Anonymous said...

The legacy MPACT program was hurt by the same unrealistic (bordering on irrational) assumptions for annual returns that still plagues PERS today. Fitch rightfully fixed MPACT. Reeves, for all his financial acumen, did NOTHING to right the ship for 8 long years while at the very same time using MPACT/MACS/CollegeSavingsMS as a state paid advertising slush fund to augur his name recognition in advance of his running for LtGov.

Reeves deserves kudos for playing hardball with the state budget as LtGov but he doesn't get a pass for watching MPACT flounder while Treasurer. That is why he should be leading the charge to fix PERS NOW.

Chris Hansen said...

Just a quick clarification, Mississippi is one of four that are backed by the full faith and credit of the state. There are a bunch of plans. I have two fully paid MPACT plans, one about to be used. My daughter's plan is going to come due just about the time for projected insolvency. Good times!

Anonymous said...

100% @1:43!

Anonymous said...

@ 11:33, that would be the case if Ms. Fitch had advocated closing out the program and ending the hole digging. But she didn't have the courage to do that. Instead, she had it re-priced. She is claiming that her re-priced model is exceeding assumptions. That's fantastic. Over one of the best Bull Markets of the past century, she has managed to exceed assumptions. The Bear Market is when we will know if her plan is priced in a revenue-neutral way or if she merely made the hole in the boat smaller.
Marshall Bennett started this and Tate Reeves was complicit in it's perpetuation. Ms. Fitch is continuing the grand legacy of her predecessors. The tax payers are the ones that will be on the hook.

Anonymous said...

Legislature - Please shut this ponzi scheme down and preserve what little dignity we have left. Please, we beg you. Sincerely, Mississippi citizen.

Anonymous said...

Can we see how much people REALLY pay to attend Ole Miss, State,Hinds??? One gets a scholarship for playing in the marching band at all of these places (and all the other state universities and community colleges), and at Hinds its equal to a full ride

the schools have to see that they can't scholarship to death and just keep increasing enrollment to have more cash flow. it used to be an honor to receive a scholarship. now students feel entitled to have one

Anonymous said...

Tate did about as much for MPACT as he did for the bank when he was a teller prior to running for state office.

Anonymous said...

Jim Hood will not win.

Anonymous said...

I say make up the shortfall. My kids have paid up MPACT contracts and are just moving on through school on a college prep path. It was a good investment on my part 11 years ago. At the time, I did my part... paid the obligated monies (I'm not an economist or actuary or anything of the sort) as was spelled out in the CONTRACT I signed. In the future I will expect the program to do its part by paying out the obligated monies as spelled out in the CONTRACT they signed. You can't go back and abandon or alter something like that down the road. Did I mention I have a CONTRACT?

Anonymous said...

I agree Hood probably won't win 6:53am.
MS will be pretty much in total GOP control at the State, Federal and Judicial level.
My question is how many years does the GOP have to be in control before anything that goes wrong is there responsibility? 8 years obviously isn't enough at the Federal or State levels to get credit if things improve or blame if they went sour, so what is the time frame that will cause people to give up party propaganda?

Anonymous said...

8,000 a semester at state
8,000 a semester at ole miss
3000 a semester at hinds

Anonymous said...

@ 8:25am

You knocked it out of the park when you said, "My question is how many years does the GOP have to be in control before anything that goes wrong is there responsibility?"

Its actually been more like "conservative" fiscal policy's for the last 40 years. Many of those Democrats (Dixie-crats) that ran the state legislature in 70's, 80's and 90's began switching over to the Republican party around the late 90's. With 2016 being the culmination of the migration to the Mississippi GOP.

This upward corporate welfare is not gonna cut it in a state like Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

6:53.....The pension recipients in Detroit had a contract too and you see how that went

Anonymous said...

Same people who work overtime to draw attention to Democrat party switching are the same people who reflexively deny that William Winter once ran for Governor as a full-blown segregationist.

Anonymous said...

@ 6:53, I'd like to see enrollment in the program ceased. However, MS made a contract with you and your children and should honor it. The shortfall isn't so dire as to require haircuts to contract holders. "Thankfully" we don't have enough kids planning for college to make it unberable. However, it is being underwritten by the taxpayers and the hole will continue to get deeper.

Plain ol' Catfish said...

@ 11:48am

Yep and that's when it was the Democrat a.k.a Dixie-crat Party. Duh!

Anonymous said...

6:53 - nobody is talking about not honoring your contract. Take a pill and relax. Or if you are not into pills, down another drink. Whatever it is that makes you take off like this early in the morning.

The conversation is whether the program should continue. With returns on investment being as small as they are, compared to what was anticipated, this ponzi scheme doesn't work. And the taxpayers should not continue the deal. Pay the contracts as they come due. Shut it down for any new entrants.

Won't happen because then the legislature would have to step up and appropriate money NOW to honor the contracts, rather than depend on new entrants paying for the old ones. Same as the crap that the feds do with Social Security. Same as the state does with PERS. And they are all failing for the same reason.

Pay off 6:53 so he can sober up and relax. Shut down the program; pay up for the past mistake, and move on.

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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).

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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.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.

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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.

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