Sunday, July 8, 2018

Bill Crawford: PERS not so Hunky-Dory After All

Here we go again. PERS is bumping employer contribution rates, again, to try and keep the retirement system actuarially sound. The Associated Press reported it will cost taxpayers an extra $100 million annually to do so.

In 2011, Gov. Haley Barbour established his PERS Study Commission to look for ways to stabilize PERS and keep it solvent. At the time Barbour noted, "In 2001, PERS was financially strong with a funded status of 88 percent; a decade later, the funded status has declined to 64.2 percent, despite large contribution increases by both employees and taxpayers (public employers) in recent years."

Despite annual comments from PERS leadership, particularly outgoing Executive Director Pat Robertson, that everything was hunky-dory, this new bump in employer contributions reveals either the naivety or the deception of those comments.

PERS is worse off now than seven years ago and heading down hill. The funding level is hovers at 61%, the funding gap has jumped to nearly $17 billion from $12 billion, and the number of retirees drawing out has steadily increased while the number employees paying in has actually decreased. (For a detailed analysis, see the recent Jackson Jambalaya blog on PERS.)

"Some have questioned why Governor Barbour would call for a study of the 'financial, management, and investment structure of PERS' when I have repeatedly reported that we are financially sound," Robertson told retirees immediately after the PERS Study Commission report was issued on Dec. 14, 2011. "Governor Barbour formed the Commission after citing concerns about increases in the employer contribution rate as a percentage of public payroll from 2005 (9.75%) to 2012 (12.93%). These increases were not made lightly or without consideration of their significance. They were made to ensure that PERS remains on sound financial footing and to counteract the effects of downturns in the financial markets that began in 2001 but that hit hardest in 2008 and 2009, a period now being referred to as the Great Recession."

Well, since then investment returns at PERS have averaged 11.4%, but things have not gotten better.

Later in 2012, as PERS' funding shortfall continued to grow, Robertson and the board jumped the employer contribution rate to 15.75% effective for 2014 saying that fix would get the funding level up to acceptable levels by 2042.

Oops. Robertson and the board now say that's not working, so they must jump the employer contribution rate to 17.4% effective for 2019. It's not investment returns, so something else must be wrong. Perhaps it's what Barbour and his commission suggested, PERS has fundamental flaws.

Meanwhile, legislative leaders, particularly Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, have kept their heads buried in the sand on PERS. As State Treasurer, Reeves was a PERS board member from 2003 through 2011, so observed PERS deterioration first hand. Through their inaction, Reeves and his colleagues will see taxpayers hit with an extra $100 million to fund PERS.

Escalating costs to fund a flawed retirement plan are what caused Barbour to create his study commission. If legislative leaders had acted on the commission's recommendations, PERS would be in better shape and retirees more secure.

Reckon legislators and retirees will fall for this new "fix" too?

Crawford ( is a syndicated columnist from Meridian


Anonymous said...

And the state still pays a 13th check and we wonder why it is quickly becoming insolvent.

Anonymous said...

Socialistic concept. They never work. Will never work. Period.

Anonymous said...

When you raise the employer contribution rate, it will bite many government entities hard when making decisions on personnel numbers. Think of the various schools districts for example. Employee reductions plus increased contributions to the system equals impending insolvency.

It could be worse, some large state retirement plans have employer contribution rates near and beyond 30%. A 17.4% rate is good in comparison. There is no happy ending to this story boys and girls. Catch-22, Mexican Standoff, whatever term you want to use for no possible good outcome on any side, feel free to use.

Anonymous said...

Man, get off the 13th check crap. That's the least of PERS problems.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if the state gave cost of living wage increase to keep up with inflation.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain how this PERS committee has the power to simply increase taxpayer funding by 100 million dollars by fiat? I assume that at some point the Legislature gave them the authority to do so. If so, that's the real story here, imo- normally you need a vote of legislators accountable to voters to pass new spending. But apparently this committee has the power to just do it. And I expect the Legislature secretly likes this arrangement since they are personally members of PERS and this lets them say "don't blame me - I didn't vote for this spending increase, the committee did."

I don't think PERS is necessarily in such bad shape if this committee has the power to do keep getting more and more money from taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Didn't members of the Mississippi legislature pass a bill that allows for a special calculation that favors them for future PERS benefits? If so, curtailing that would be a good place to start in solving the PERS problem. After all, they keep telling us how they are conservative, pro-business public servants who would not do anything that benefited themselves.

Anonymous said...

Terminate the 13th check.

Stokes for Mayor.

Anonymous said...

12:16 - it may be the "least" of PERS problems (which it is not), but you cannot deny that it is "one" of PERS problems.

When the (democrat controlled) legislature/governor in the heyday period of 1999 decided to give away the bank they created the Automatic COLA with a compounded 3% annual interest rate - to tie those state workers and retirees votes to themselves forever. Nothing wrong with a COLA, but a 3% automatic COLA is ridiculous. (Check what the Social Security annual cost of living rate has been for each of the 18 years since this idiotic scheme.) But even moreso was the compounding of the rate, making it much more lucrative to the retirees.

Yes, there are other problems with PERS - starting with the fact that it is a defined benefit program vs a defined contribution - which practically every other non-government retirement program AND the federal government moved to several decades ago.

The fact that benefits are paid on the "high four" rather than the average pay allows many - generally politically connected - beneficiaries to scam the system.

Probably, though, the biggest problem with PERS is that the foxes are guarding the henhouse. To allow the board to be controlled by those that benefit from the decisions made, and devoid of anyone with any knowledge or experience in such programs other than sucking from their teats, is absolute idiocy.

But, starting with a change in the 13th check - the 3% COLA compounded every year - would at least be a step.

Anonymous said...

Initiate a hiring freeze. We the taxpayers should not be responsible to fund retirement plans when some of us in the private sector cannot ever afford to retire!

Anonymous said...

Didn’t the House GOP caucus sign a pledge to no changes to PeRS?

Anonymous said...

The tax payers of this State are in for a real eye opener when all this finally hits them. This type of retirement system should be against the law. How can Tate run for Gov. with this mess on his watch?

Anonymous said...

One of the metro counties that shall remain nameless and that has several hundred employees will see an annual payroll budget impact of at least $300,000 as a result of increasing the employer contribution from15.75 to 17.4. That county would need to raise property taxes about 1/4 mills just to cover that shortfall. Shit’s gettin’ serious.

Anonymous said...

1:50 PM Yes now that you mention it. The perfectly named Supplemental Legislative Retirement Plan (SLRP) guarantees that members of the legislature get a really nice tidy monthly payment and COLA (13th check) for their retirement. Very comfortable indeed.

I'm serious, they really called it "slurp"

Anonymous said...

If my memory serves.....PERS is guaranteed by the state in the constitution ? The only state to have this guarantee in the constitution.

Kingfish said...

The Legislature should terminate SLRP and terminate it now BUT it's total assets are only $17 million.

In a $26 billion portfolio, that is not even a drop in the bucket.

Anonymous said...

In the context of financial services, these plans are ancient and no longer practical; PERS was established in 1952 and a crappy annuity is a better deal...

BUT, if the state does decide to hold on to its four antiquated defined benefit plans, they should be consolidated - having three systems for just state state employees (PERS, SLRP and MHSPRS) is ridiculous, and tantamount to a caste/class system. Why are troopers entitled to a better retirement than other state and local law enforcement, and why are legislaTORS, entitled to a better system yet? The rules should be the same no matter who you are, and how you serve.

Lawmakers have some soul-searching to may be time to ween state employees off of the taxpayer's teet, and come up with a system where they have some skin in the game.

Anonymous said...

If this were a private sector retirement plan and it was this far in the hole, the SEC would have someone hung over this! Fine example of public employees not being held accountable for their actions. We in the private sector should not have to shore up this mess. What do WE get in return? It’s sort of like when the Hinds county board of supervisors gave the developers of the Westin Hotel $9,000,000 of taxpayer money and no one knew about it in 2016.

Anonymous said...

Tate will eventually eliminate the 13th check. He’ll have no choice.

Anonymous said...

Will the soybean farmers keep voting for fools like this? It's just like paying for a wall.

Anonymous said...

6:58, that's just simply not true. The county did back a loan but there are personal guarantees from the developers, so unless the Lucketts go bankrupt, I think the county is fine. And it was the 2014-2015 board that cut that deal. Ironically, a former supervisor from that board is now Tate's budget director.

You may recall that the Westin developer is friends with very connected people in Rankin county and the state was in on that deal also. Same as the Iron Horse / Blues museum upstairs. State money, same developer.

But that has nothing at all to do with PERS. You apparently just have a beef with the county. Are you on the Jackson City Counsil?

Anonymous said...

I am ok with state/county government spending money on development, like attracting a 5(ish) star hotel to a desolate downtown. Jackson is an embarrassment. There is 3x more to do in the 3rd tier cities in surrounding states than in Jackson. So, bring in a nice hotel. Step 2, bring in reasons for people to want to stay in hotel. In other news, where is the closest actual zoo, Memphis or Mew Orleans? Planning a day trip.

Anonymous said...

I knew there would be one chirper in the group who would post "Institute an immediate hiring freeze". We hear that every year about the same time the legislature discussed removing one or more agencies from Personnel Board protections so employees can be fired easily.

Do you people not understand that curtailing hiring and firing people who don't look and act like you diminishes half of the contribution calculation? When you reduce state, municipal and county employees, you not only cut the services they provide, but you remove their contributions to the PERS system. Then all you have left is employer contributions, which must be raised in order to write checks to retirees.

Kingfish's comment that SLRP is a mediocre part of the problem omits the fact that so is the (imaginary) 13th check. When you're blowing more oil out the tailpipe than you can afford to add to the engine, you 'bout to be on the side of the interstate.

Anonymous said...

"Meanwhile, legislative leaders, particularly Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, have kept their heads buried in the sand on PERS. As State Treasurer, Reeves was a PERS board member from 2003 through 2011, so observed PERS deterioration first hand. Through their inaction, Reeves and his colleagues will see taxpayers hit with an extra $100 million to fund PERS."

For a while there's been a faction at the Mississippi Institute for Public Policy a.k.a The Heritage Foundation that have wanted to shrink state government, privatize many services, and then the controlling faction just divy out the contracts to their favorite donors.

Now you have Tate Reeves leading the charge on cutting positions at State agencies, cutting agency budgets and stating the state does not have the money, of course they do not when you pass a massive tax cut for the richest people in the state.

July 9, 2018 at 2:52 AM said it best with this comment, "Do you people not understand that curtailing hiring and firing people who don't look and act like you diminishes half of the contribution calculation? When you reduce state, municipal and county employees, you not only cut the services they provide, but you remove their contributions to the PERS system. Then all you have left is employer contributions, which must be raised in order to write checks to retirees."

It's now 2018 and Tate Reeves has been dabbling with the fiscal solvency of this state for the last 15 years, he does not need another promotion.

Let's hope a sensible Republican or a Democrat with a spine will challenge that little som'itch before he messes some more sh*t up

Anonymous said...

The problem with the “13th check” is not that one is paid at all. After all, it is intended to be simply a COLA that retirees choose to have paid in a year-end lump sum instead of being spread out over 12 months. No harm in that.

BUT, the REAL problem with the 13th check is that for more than a decade, it has far exceeded the actual “cost of living,” if by that you mean the real rate of inflation. The 13th check is an automatic 3% per year, compounded, regardless of whatever real inflation is. Understand, this is NOT an “earned” benefit that is part of any contractual duty owed pursuant to PERS and promised to retirees, but rather an added, unearned benefit (to the extent “COLA” exceeds actual inflation). The effect of the 13th check is indeed a real contributor to PERS’ solvency concerns, and a real cause of the decision to hike employer contributions.

Imagine in future years if real inflation is, say, 8%. What will retirees say about their 3% guaranteed 13th check then? I’d be willing to bet it won’t be any sacred cow then; retirees will be literally begging the Legislature to change the 13th check. But now, if there is even a whisper about doing something sensible for the good of all, such as making the COLA conform to a CPI, the retirees raise holy hell. They do not realize that the day will come, not imminent, but at some point, when the only option will be to slash benefits to preserve the system. This can only be avoided with sensible action taken sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

The BP Oil Fund, Internet Taxes and Lottery should solve all these problems.

Anonymous said...

Prior to 2015, most citizens considered the PERS fiasco a “state” problem that would have to be dealt with at the state level - someday.
In 2015, national accounting standards began requiring all municipal entities to record PERS unfunded liability to every local public entity. $12.1 BILLION dollars was immediately removed from the PERS books and spread across all municipal entities including cities, counties, municipal hospitals, municipal utilities, etc. in the state.
I personally welcomed this accounting change in hopes that it would shock local governing entities into reality. So far, not so.
Pat Robertson, the acting PERS director at the time made the following ridiculous comment to our local paper “People are not going to understand. They are going to see a huge number and ask what happened, when nothings happened. It’s just an accounting number.”
Yes, it’s definitely an accounting number. One that will diminish every local municipality’s ability to borrow money and the interest rate it pays when it issues bonds.

Anonymous said...

People putting in and people taking out shouldn't have anything to do with an actuarial funding level. It's a defined benefit plan, and unless you tie funding levels (which come from 3 sources -- employer contributions, employee contributions, and earnings) to an actuarially calculated liability, there are going to be problems. Defined benefit plans don't work because somebody has to pay the tab for market downturns, unless you build no or little yield into the model. But, you can't switch to a normal retirement plan because then all the state employees not only gripe about their own plan, but they gripe about a reduction in the number of employees paying in (as if it is a Ponzi scheme rather than a retirement plan.)

Anonymous said...

"Understand, this is NOT an “earned” benefit that is part of any contractual duty owed pursuant to PERS and promised to retirees..."

How do you arrive at that absurd notion, 7:52? Attempting to talk like an attorney doesn't make you right and certainly doesn't gain you any credibility.

It is indeed part of 'the contract'. It's contained in the law, part of the regulations, printed in the handbook, cited on the internet in the regs, agreed to between the system and the employees. That defines, in part, a contract.

Please draw a chalk-circle on the blackboard and put your nose in it.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi is in no way unique in that its pension program is under-funded and quickly moving toward insolvency. Take a look at


In the next 10-20 years, this is going to be every taxpayer's problem. The Federal government will be forced to bail out many state and municipal-level pension plans.

8.13 AM invoked the "P" word, which is exactly what these pensions have devolved into. Here is an article that vividly illustrates this:

Get ready to open your wallets, tax-paying Americans. In a few decades, the US will look like many northern European countries with 40% to 60% income taxes on the middle class and wealthy to pay for universal healthcare and retirement for the millions of Americans who were bilked by the politicians who were unwilling to deal with our dysfunctional healthcare policies and this catastrophic pension problem.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know exactly the total '13th check' amount paid per year and how that relates to the total retirement disbursement per year.

Anonymous said...

July 8, 2018 at 3:51 PM: "We the taxpayers should not be responsible to fund retirement plans when some of us in the private sector cannot ever afford to retire!"

It is neither PERS' nor PERS-covered employees' fault that you can't afford to retire. They didn't fail to plan your retirement or fail to fund it. YOU failed. As an example, I participate in a good retirement plan from my employer which is sufficient to live well on. I further privately saved and invested enough to live on in retirement besides my employer's plan. So I have enough to retire twice. And that's before Social Security. Now, what did you do?

Also a minor technicality - the compounding of the PERS COLA raise doesn't start until age 55. Before that, it's a simple 3%.

Anonymous said...

@ July 9, 2018 at 7:56 AM

"The BP Oil Fund, Internet Taxes and Lottery should solve all these problems."

BP Oil money should be appropriated strictly for coast initiatives. Internet taxes should go back into the state's infrastructure, streamlining transit times across the state, updating the state's interstate system, improving the docks on the coast, ports along the Mississippi River, waterways and sewage, internet access for rural county's.

The lottery for public education.

COLA increases for retirees and state employees should have been reviewed every year. Instead, COLA increases are only given to retirees, while current state employees have suffered the most especially those who have between 10-15 years of service.

For retirees, the COLA increase should have been given once every for years, opposed to annually.

Changes need to be made across the board and Tate Reeves should not be the one as Governor when and if those changes are made.

Anonymous said...

For many years, Mississippi's state employee retirement system was considered the healthiest in the nation. I remember that from 35 years ago. But, quit bitching about the imaginary 13th check which is not going to balance the budget or break the bank.

The compounding of the PERS COLA raise doesn't start until age 55. Before that, it's a simple 3%. And it does not kick into the computations until after one full fiscal year of retirement. In other words, the retirement needs to occur prior to July 1 of a year in order for the 'magic check' to be received on December of the following year or for the annual COLA to be applied to monthly checks effective the following July 1.

And you simpletons who actually believe your taxes go up in order to fund employer contributions....please tell me the last time your state taxes were increased? You also overlook (or simply don't know) that many of these agency positions are 100% federally funded and the matches are as well. But ain't it fun to bitch about state employees, all of who you like to think lean on shovels or nap under trees.

Anonymous said...

8:39, because " It's contained in the law, part of the regulations, printed in the handbook, cited on the internet in the regs, agreed to between the system and the employees," may make it legal, but it sure doesn't make it moral. Slavery and Jim Crow were both contained in the law, part of the regulations, printed in the handbook, and agreed upon by the system (you get a pass on the internet, Al Gore wouldn't have invented that yet) and they were just as egregious as a handful of jackasses gathering in Jackson and deciding that trading their legislative vote for the state employee voting block is a right to raid my pay envelope before it even gets to me. Even worse, you're defending a system where children just born will have a portion of their paycheck confiscated the second they start working to fund your retirement. Just curious what voice those kids have in your scheme? You provide those kids fewer than normal economic opportunities (probably the worst in the nation), sub-standard educations (the worst in the nation), hell...the top of every bad list and bottom of every good list; but, you're entitled to a portion of every paycheck they earn for your retirement. Without a choice. Not really sure how your ilk sleep at night. Seriously, how do you justify that? I don't care about your 13th check because I don't think you should be able to rob me at gunpoint for the other 12.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of back-and-forth on this thread that is of a normative nature. We can argue until we are all blue in the face about whether a contract exists or doesn't exist that binds the State to providing retirement benefits to its employees. Whatever... The more important point to be made here is of a positive (i.e. factual) nature: Without significant alterations, PERS will run out of money (along with many, many other state and municipal pension programs).

8.39, perhaps a contract does exist between you and Mississippi, but contracts are nullified and/or modified every day through a process called "BANK-RUPT-CY". This is a situation that exists when a business, government entity or other organization runs out of money and can't pay its bills. That is where PERS and the State are headed. You may be dead and gone by the time it happens, but the children and grandchildren of the Great State of Mississippi are headed for a heap o' heartache when the PERS deficit gets so big that it can't pay all of its beneficiaries in full.

Oh, and 12.39 PM - you are right: the MS legislature has yet to raise taxes specifically to cover PERS obligations. And they may never ask to do so by explicitly stating that PERS is the issue. But the day will come when meeting PERS' obligations consumes so much of the state and/or lower-level budgets that there isn't enough money to cover basic services (like roads, fire departments, police protection, schools, etc). Then taxes have to go up.

Here is where we are headed. Read and weep:

Anonymous said...

2:08 - Shouldn't you be back at the home by now. Bed check soon. Nite.

Anonymous said...

Great retort, 5:49. I like your systematic dismantle of my argument.

Hate to tell you, but while we continue to mortgage our children's future in perpetuity to fund PERS, we cut mental health services to the bone. No chance any facility would have a bed for me. But while we're at it, isn't the definition of insanity continuing to do the same thing over and over but expecting different results?

Anonymous said...

Most Defined Benefit Plans have been grandfathered out and replaced with Defined Contribution Plans. The State should announce that the current plan is being grandfathered out over the next 3 years no will be replaced with a 2% Defined Contribution Plan. The State will contribute 2% and the employees can add an additional 3%. This will allow sufficient advance notice for current employees and future employees what to expect.

Anonymous said...

7:52 here

For 8:39:

You edited my sentence instead of reading and understanding it. What I meant to say (and, in fact, believe I did say in the part you deleted/ignored) is that the automatic 3% annual compounded COLA is not part of any contractual obligation owed to retirees. This is self-evident. As I pointed out, if inflation rose above 3% for a sustained period, who would then argue that the “COLA” is contractual and forever set in stone? Obviously, the earned and vested portions of PERS are contractual; however, this obviously does not include an automatic 3% annual COLA, which is neither earned nor vested.

OH...But The Children! said...

"Hate to tell you, but while we continue to mortgage our children's future in perpetuity to fund PERS, we cut mental health services to the bone."

7:49 - Please tell us how the PERS system in any way affects the mortgaging of our children's future. The funding of mental health is in no way related to, similar to or in any manner akin to agency contributions to PERS. Your taxes are not now nor have they ever been affected in any way by PERS.

Please state the last time your taxes went up in Mississippi. Please admit you have no idea what the hell you're talking about. But by mentioning 'the children', you obviously identify yourself as a democrat and one who cleaves to the logical fallacy of emotion.

Anonymous said...

9.07 AM,

[I am not 7.49, BTW]

You are ignorant and delusional if you think that the shortfall in PERS funding cannot or will not affect your taxes. When state agencies, school districts, etc are required to increase their level of funding for PERS, where exactly do you think that money comes from?

Per the above, the funding has gone from 9.75% of payrolls to 15.75% of payrolls, with a proposed bump to 17.4% starting in 2019. So, hypothetically, let's say a school district has a total annual payroll of $10 million (constant dollars, with no inflation). In 2005, that district had to allocate $975,000 of its budget to PERS funding. Starting in 2019, that number will be $1,740,000 under the proposed increase. Do the math: that is an increase of $765,000 (or +78%). Where does that money come from? It either come OUT OF other budget items like salaries, facilities maintenance, etc., or it comes from more taxes.

Them's the facts. You can continue to live in your la-la land (and I assuming living off of your PERS check), but the severity of the PERS situation is getting real.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness Mississippi is not a heavily-unionized state like IL. I doubt that PERS would ever get this bad, but I think PERS is suffering on a smaller scale from the same maladies. Read this - but not on a full stomach:

Anonymous said...

Okay, 9:07, I try and go slow enough that even a McDaniel supporter would understand.

The main thrust of this article is that PERS needs more 'employer contributions' to the tune of $100 million. Hmmm, who is the employer? Oh, yes, the State. Where does the state get their money? Do you think Feel farts in a jar and it magically turns into money? No, 9:07, they take it from us. It is automatically deducted from your paycheck before you get it. You can beg them for a portion of that back at the end of the year. My taxes have been impacted by PERS, both directly in income tax, and in the cost of goods I purchase from businesses that pay state corporate taxes.

Back to the mortgaging of our children's future. Mortgage, you know, when you buy something for which you don't have the money but promise to make payments on. Again, the state doesn't have any money, they have to steal it from us. So, the state has promised a portion of my children's paychecks, in perpetuity, to fund the 'employer contribution' of PERS. My kids had no say in that. Hence, I chose to use 'mortgaging of our children's future.'

Last time my taxes went up in Mississippi? City, County, or State? City was the infrastructure tax. County would be the JPS Bond that wasn't allowed to be retired, the State would be the sales tax on internet sales. My accountant started declaring it a couple of years ago.

Nice jab about me being a 'democrat.' Everyone knows that democrats fight tooth and nail against government employee retirement benefits.

The reference to mental health was a reply to the suggestion that I needed to be returned to the home for bed check. I also thought that the comparison to PERS was pretty good because most would argue that type of service is more likely a legitimate function of government then defined benefit pensions for state employees.

And finally, I think you were trying to say that perhaps I was 'clinging' to the logical fallacy of emotion. Cleave means to cut. That's what I'd like to do to taxes, and the defined benefit pension system.

I think this makes it very clear, that I'm not the one in dire need of admitting that I don't don't what the hell I'm talking about. Given your poor mastery of basic vocabulary, I do hope I've been clear enough for you. The economics I'm sure went right over your head, like the blow dryer cementing a McDaniels hair do.

Anonymous said...

11:44 - Your post and you are both as full of crap as a Christmas turkey. Who do you expect to believe that your income taxes have been affected by PERS or anything else over the past fifteen years? Nor has anything related to PERS affected 'state corporate taxes'. You're farting in a whirlwind while enjoying the smell of your own farts - which is not unusual for a junior elocutionist his first several times out of the blocks. But you can call your wife or your boyfriend to the keyboard to see what you've just typed and together you can chortle.

And your nutty suggestion that when employer contributions rise, the cost of goods and services rise proportionally has zero basis in fact. You don't even make interesting, imaginary analogies.

The only thing weaker than your analytical ability and knowledge of anything related to PERS is your attempt at comedy.

Anonymous said...

"And your nutty suggestion that when employer contributions rise, the cost of goods and services rise proportionally has zero basis in fact."

Do you think when any input, be it cost of goods sold, direct costs, or indirect costs rise that the business simply takes those rises in costs, to the expense of their profit, or do they pass it on to the consumer? They just let it happen and shrug with their pockets out like the monopoly man? Nah. When you go to the restaurant and the price of the fish special says 'market,' that's because the fluctuation of the price of that commodity dictate the price of the end product. This is why gasoline prices aren't stagnant.

Clearly you've never signed the front of a paycheck and I shudder knowing you may have possibly signed a voting roster.

And given your deep appreciation for my humor, I must decline any Christmas dinner invitation from you. Turkeys stuffed with crap don't sound too terribly appealing.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap! 12.28/9.07, are you really this dense, or are you just acting stupid in order to goad 1.17?

If the former, then read on, and I'll lay it out for you:

- PERS has increased the employer funding three times over the past 13 years for an aggregate 78% increase (from 9.75% to 17.4%);

- The above fact clearly indicates that something is fundamentally wrong with the math, with the employment base paying into PERS, with the number of retirees - whatever. It's broken, and PERS continues to put a band aid on the open wound.

- Employer contributions to PERS in the 2017 fiscal year were $1.02 billion, which implies an aggregate payroll of $6.5 billion (that would be state employees, school districts, municipalities, law enforcement - any governmental entity or agency that participates in PERS)

- Let's assume that the PERS management is twice as effective over the next 13 years than they were over the last 13 years, and by 2032, the employer contributions have only gone up 39% instead of 78%

- In this case, all of the entities participating in PERS will be contributing just over 24% of payroll costs to PERS, an increase of $2.535 billion in today's dollars (no effect for inflation)

That's $2.535 BILLION - with a "B". Incremental dollars. Simple question: in your fairy-tale land of pixie dust and leprechauns, where is that $2.535 billion going to come from? Refresher: these are state agencies, school districts, law enforcement agencies, municipalities... Getting warmer? What do all of those things have in common? Where does their funding come from? Huh? You get it? Is it clear?

TAXES! YES! All of those entities get their funding from TAXES!!!!! So, if there is an incremental $2 billion or so of cost, they either have to fire a sh@t load of employees (that would be teachers, police men, fire men, state employees), stop repairing roads and schools, or...wait for it...RAISE TAXES!!!

Is this getting any clearer for you?

Anonymous said...

2:09 - Show any evidence of tax increases. And as to the suggestion in your last paragraph, no agency has the authority to raise taxes. Show me the last time an agency head went to the legislature and said, "We need a higher level of funding in order to pay increased PERS contributions". You can't do it. It's never happened.

Several large agencies are federally funded and don't rely on state funding to begin with. No taxes have been increased in order to fund agency PERS contributions. Instead of pissing in the wind with your weak arguments, provide evidence of your claim. Show us evidence that corporate or state income taxes have been raised in order to fund PERS. You can't.

Anonymous said...

6.47 PM,

I've given it some thought. You know what: I'm wrong. You're right. PERS dollars don't really count. They don't come from taxpayers. They come from somewhere else. So, no matter how big the PERS shortfall gets, it will never contribute in any way to a tax increase or budgets being cut elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Assuming some of you economy-experts own stock in corporations that offer a 401-k with a company often have you bitched and moaned that the match should be removed when profits take a hit and your stock dives? If the match were to be removed and that money folded back into company cash on hand, your stock value might improve. Why not apply your same level of 'expert advice' regarding public employment to the private scenario? Oh, wait! It's because employees in the public sector don't deserve benefits and retirement plans.

It's simply amazing the number of you goobs who actually are of the opinion that all public employees are toads, loafers, not to be trusted and should be making $13 an hour with no benefits or retirement plan.

Anonymous said...

11:04 - How many times do you need to be challenged to produce even minimal evidence of taxes being raised, ever, to pay for PERS contributions before you either produce evidence or admit there IS none? Then you bitch about too many public employees but look like a doe in the headlights when you realize fewer employees (and more terminations) results in diminished employee contributions.

If you had half a lick of sense and minor investigative ability you'd realize how many federal matching dollars are directed into Mississippi agencies for operations including retirement contributions, salaries, equipment and supplies. Face it, Gomer, your taxes have never increased for this purpose (and not for ANY purpose in more than a decade. In fact they've been reduced) and the futures of your imaginary kids are not being sacrificed - Unless you send them to Ole Myth for a liberal arts degree.

Anonymous said...

Okay, Keynes, let's take each paragraph in turn.

Something, something 401-k, what would my expert advice on the private scenario be? Well, Self-Employed, so no 401-k. What I do when I have an investment in a company that does not act in concert with my best interests are...sell the investment and invest in one that I believe will. Public sector doesn't work this way. I can't avoid taxes or you put a lien on my assets and failing to satisfy it, you put me in prison. Apples and oranges. Apple can't do that to me, the government can.

My issue is with defined benefit pensions being a ponzi scheme and the leveraging the earnings of children with no vote and not yet in the work force. Never offered an opinion on what public employees should be paid or whether or not they should be allowed benefits, nor whether or not they could be trusted. In all fairness, I did say that the state government fails to provide services that are above dead last in the country in pretty much every category. And more gubmint employees are needed to feed PERS? That's like taking a bucket of water out of the deep end of the pool and pouring it in the shallow end and expecting the water level to rise.

Mississippi has a general fund, so when the MENSA candidates in Jackson raise taxes or fees that are ostensibly for education or roads, or whatever...guess what? They all go into the general fund. Every increase in taxes or fees is an increase in taxes. No. You are correct. They don't endorse the back of my tax checks with the PERS account number. Enjoy your Pyrrhic victory. When they pass the lottery, or raise the gas taxes...not a dime will go to education or roads...all to feeding the bureaucracy. There won't be a road intact to your bank to cash the 13th check, nor a teller functionally literate enough to process it.

Federal matching dollars? Are you F@$%*&! serious? Where does that money come from? Not my income taxes? Not included in the price of goods and services I buy from corporations that pay taxes? Not from the inflation eroding the buying power of my money on hand when the government creates money out of thin air? Not from my savings not earning because of ZIRP?

Sending my kids to 'Old Myth' for a liberal arts degree? Surely, you would want them to do better since you seem to think they owe you a portion of their paychecks for the entirety of your retirement. I didn't generalize about public employees, but it's pretty clear you're an unapologetic parasite.

Anonymous said...

3:44 - You rattled on for most of twenty five minutes and still refuse to give a single example of your taxes, state or federal, being raised in the past fourteen years. I give up and withdraw the challenge.

You work for yourself and pretend to be an economic expert, yet the boot you're trying to pour piss out of has a hole in the heel and you can't figure out why your pants leg is wet.

And now you're pretending to be an expert on the evils of a lottery, the imaginary poor house our children are headed to, roads and the public sector. It must be terrible trying to drift off to sleep at night with that stored up level of anger.

Anonymous said...

It took you 25 minutes to read that? Certainly explains your poor grasp of most of what I've tried to say. You are correct, I didn't give a single example of my state or federal taxes going up. I gave a single example of local, county, and state taxes going up. I forgot federal. ACA. De facto tax given that I'm compelled to by insurance coverage in excess of what I need or want else face the government wrath. Believe the SCOTUS ruled it was a tax. But, I digress.

Never claimed to be an economic expert. Were I, wouldn't work for myself. And why in the hell would I try to pour piss out of a boot that has a hole in it? I mean, it drains itself. And given the size of the hole, by the time I discover it, the piss has already drained. And just who pisses in a boot? I believe the expression you were going for is "don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining?" If you were educated in a public school in Mississippi, I feel like you've gone a long way to prove that the state produces sub standard results for basic services.

Never claimed to be an expert on the lottery either, nor did I pass any sort of judgement on it. I did say the government would piss the money away. Like the Casinah money that was going to fund education, or the tax revenue from liquor before it. Never said poor house for my children. I did say you have NO RIGHT TO A SINGLE CENT OF THEIR PAYCHECKS. Our roads and bridges are a shambles and our 'leaders' lack the moral courage to do what's right and fix them. They also are going to lack the funds because they will plug the PERS gap and continue to fund your retirement at the expense of the rest of us.

I sleep fine, usually because I read before I drift off. I highly recommend you try it. Leave your mailing address and I'll send you some primers on civics, economics, and ethics.

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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