Tuesday, April 24, 2018

PEER: PERS needs help

The PEER Committee issued the following statement and report.

The PEER Committee is releasing its report titled 2017 Update on Financial Soundness of the Public Employees’ Retirement System.

Some of the Committee’s major findings include:

The PERS Board adopted a decrease of 0.50% to the wage inflation assumption for the PERS plan, reducing it from 3.75% to 3.25%. Even with the adoption of this change, over the past five and ten-year periods the PERS actual average annual payroll increase has fallen below the actuarial model’s projected rate of salary increase. Continued analysis of variation between actual and assumed is warranted.

The current PERS funding policy is designed to address the past volatility of employer contribution rates within the system by setting the employer contribution rate percentage to a fixed rate of 15.75% of annual compensation. The policy also targets an 80% funding level by 2042 while still reducing the plan’s unfunded actuarial accrued liability

As of June 30, 2017, the PERS funding ratio was 61.1%, an increase from 60% as of June 30, 2016. Even with the increase in funding ratio, actuarial projections show that the PERS Board’s originally adopted model’s funding goals of an 80% minimum funding ratio in 2042 will not be achieved. Furthermore, the plan has been below its 75% funding threshold for two consecutive periods. As described in the report, the PERS Board and/or the Legislature could consider several options to address this issue.

For fiscal year 2017 the PERS plan’s combined investment portfolio experienced a return of 14.96%, and the market value of the system’s assets was approximately $26.9 billion.

PERS paid $95.6 million to investment managers during fiscal year 2017, which represents a combined investment expense rate of 0.36% of the PERS plan’s total assets (the expense rate for fiscal year 2016 was 0.36% also).

Kingfish note: PEER whitewashed PERS's problems a few years ago as it gave its recovery plan a clean bill of health.  Then Executive Director Max Arinder admitted to JJ that no financial experts reviewed the PERS data for PEER and that only PEER staff drafted the report.  PEER at the time took PERS's claims at face value and rubber stamped them. Such is not the case with this report as a CPA and analyst with a degree in finance took part in the review. 

However, the findings in this report seem to be more intellectually honest and correspond with JJ's reporting of PERS over the years.

The report does miss one point.  PEER points out that the ratio of active workers to retirees has steadily fallen over the years to its present level of 1.46.

Although the PERS ratio of active members to retired members has declined over the past 10 fiscal years, the PERS active member to retired member ratio of 1.52:1 at the end of FY 2016 was above the average ratio for other pension plans across the nation. According to the November 2017 report of the Public Fund Survey, when looking at the membership of the pension plans tracked by the database, the overall active to retiree ratio is 1.42:1 as of the end of FY 2016, the most recent nationwide information available. This indicates that PERS has a higher ratio of members paying into the plan compared to retirees than the average pension plan in the United States.

Additionally, the Public Fund Survey stated that a lower ratio of active members to retired members results in funding future obligations over a smaller payroll base, and although a declining active members to retired members ratio does not automatically pose an actuarial or financial problem,such a decline may increase financial pressures on a pension system provider.
However, PEER does not go far enough in this analysis.  The falling number of employees and increasing number of retirees means that the deficit between contributions and payments is around a billion dollars.  Billion with a "B".  That is why the funding level barely improves when the PERS portfolio has a great year in the markets. This chart (not updated with 2017 data) shows the problem:

The report says the legislature can adjust contributions (by employer or employee), appropriate more funds to PERS, or adjust the plan.


Anonymous said...

This is with a booming market for the past decade. Imagine what the next recession will do to the funding ratio! If only we had people with the intellect and courage to address this issue...

Anonymous said...

PEER is a joke, but broke clock is right twice a day..............

Anonymous said...

... the PERS active member to retired member ratio of 1.52:1 at the end of FY 2016 was above the average ratio for other pension plans across the nation.

Oh, yes, the self-serving consolation of an ostrich that comes from saying 'Yes, we're really screwed but look on the bright side, we could be really, really screwed'.

Anonymous said...

Elimnate SLRP and put MHP on the same plan as everyone else; including local police and firefighters.

Anonymous said...

The always reliable higher-taxes-are-the-solution chorus serenades JJ readers in 3 ... 2 ... 1

Kingfish said...

Yup. Abolish SLRP. However, it won't make any difference in relation to PERS because it is so small.

Anonymous said...

Support eliminating SLRP but doing so does nothing to fix PERS.

Anonymous said...

Eliminate SLRP?

The supplemental liquor retirement plan for legislators?

THAT will never happen.

Anonymous said...

They made 14.98% return in 2017.
My saving only made .04% in 2017.
How could they be going in the hole?
I'm the one who is going in the hole....& if they increase taxes to cover retirement I'll be flying in the hole.

Anonymous said...

We can thank Hob Bryan and Ronnie Musgrove for much of this (the rest is just the antiquated system of defined benefits plan) but the "adjustment" they made in 1999 to the COLA sped up the inevitable. But it worked, Ronnie got elected Governor......... And Hob is still going around screaming that the GOP is going to hurt PERS.

Anonymous said...

There is a VERY good chance that the number of retirees is going to spike in the next 5-10 years. The percentage of state employees that have already reached 25+ years is very high and when they leave it's just going to get that much worse for PERS.

Anonymous said...

And imagine what the numbers will be like when we keep downsizing government.

Anonymous said...

If I'm reading this correctly, in 2017 PERS had a investment rate of return of 14.96% and paid investment managers $95.6 MILLION dollars.

The S&P index had a rate of return in 2017 of 21.14%.

PERS should invest almost all of its funds in an S&P index mutual fund and fire their investment managers.

Anonymous said...

I would characterize projections in two large buckets. Here are examples:

1. Project the likelihood of a meteor hitting a specific city on this planet: this involves many assumptions and models which lack a lot of empirical data. Scientists can crunch numbers for years and never come up with an accurate answer.

2. My foot is stuck under a cross-tithe and a train is approaching me at 50 miles/hour. Will I survive?

The pension debacle with Mississippi PERS and hundreds (if not thousands) of other pension programs in this country are in category #2. Politicians would like us to believe that they are in category #1, and there is a lot of voodoo math that is hard to understand, and things will work out over time. That is a lie. The math is not that hard, and at current course and speed, time will NOT fix the problem. In fact, it will only get worse. These pensions are going to become insolvent. It is a matter of WHEN, not IF.

Anonymous said...

The ratio of active workers to retirees is dropping due in large part because active workers are retiring and then returning as independent contractors exempt from PERS. The legislature has attempted to address this cycle of retire/return; however, unfortunately it seems that state agencies are very adept at finding new and innovative ways to circumvent these prohibitions.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone say 13th check?

Anonymous said...

1:16 raises a great point.....this is not going to fix PERS, but you have too many people "retiring" simply to return to their desk several months later as a contractor.

Anonymous said...

Eliminating the 13th check fixes 90% of the problem.

Anonymous said...

@ or you could just deduct equal portions of the total amount of the 13th check over 13 payment cycles. Since the 13th check is so precious, let them get a 13th check; just change the payouts of every check.

Then the politicians can be all like, “they’re still gettin’ dat dere 13th check.” Everyone wins.

Anonymous said...

PERS needs to consolidate assets with fewer managers, negotiate to reduce the management fees as low as possible, and get managers who actually have experience in maximizing return, and stop spreading the money around to numerous managers. Consolidation gives you a higher asset base which in turn, gives you much lower fees.

PERS also needs to allow their participants to actually see what their retirement is invested in.

Anonymous said...

Why are people being hired back as a contractor a problem?
Is the problem just contractors in general, or that state employees are allowed to have a retirement and still work?

The reason state agencies hire contractors is because the agency has a mandated job to do, and no one on the payroll that knows how to do it. Because of shrinking budgets and better pay elsewhere, state agencies are having trouble just keeping skilled/knowledgeable people on staff. The agency's stop-gap measure is to hire contractors to do jobs that state employees once did. Contractors are usually sold to the public as a way to 'save money' over state employees, but mostly it's a wash at best for the overall state if the contracted job is something that is ongoing and not time limited.

I'm sure everyone is familiar with WHY this retire-return happens. It's because it IS a 'win' for the individual employee and the specific state agency. The retiree/contractor is most likely being paid less by the agency than when an active state employee, saving the agency's budget money. BUT while the retiree is getting a smaller active paycheck from the state agency, the retirement check usually covers any shortfall. That retirement is not payed by the agency however, so to the agency, it's saving money even if the overall state is not.

The 'benefit', if you want to call it that, of a retiree coming back is that the agency already knows that person can do the job; because they were already doing it.

Is using your knowledge and skills to get a job as a contractor a 'problem' only for state employees? Isn't this what all contractors do?

It seems to me that the ACTUAL problem everyone complains about, is that contractors are being hired to do ongoing continual jobs that would/should be done by state employees instead.

Anonymous said...

With regard to the comments from 1.16 and 1.25, the real way to fix this is...dare I say it...means testing. If someone retires with an average $80K/year income, and is thus eligible for say $64K in annual retirement benefits from their pension, but they take a contract job for $75K/year, their pension benefits should be adjusted downward or eliminated until that income stops.

It boils down to a fundamental difference in defining the purpose of a pension. I would argue that a pension's purpose is to provide income to the employee once they have reached an age or state of health that they can no longer work (or are statutorily deemed to be at a retirement age). No doubt the overwhelming majority of pension beneficiaries would say that a pension is a promise to pay me a certain amount of money once I retire. What I chose to do with my time - even earn money from another job or contract - is my business, but you owe me the money regardless.

We can argue all day long about whether a pension is a promise, but in the end, it is an academic argument. We can call pensions promises right up to the point that there is no money left in them, then what?

Anonymous said...

Bingo 2:04,

"PERS also needs to allow their participants to actually see what their retirement is invested in."

That's why I rolled my PERS account funds into an investment indexed to the S&P as a previous commenter posted. I figured it common sense that I view where my money is working. Trust is not something I provide to those deciding my financial future.

Anonymous said...

Two (2) Hypothetical PERS reduction of benefits scenarios

Current payment structure:

13 payments of 1,000.00

1. 1,000.00
2. 1,000.00
3. 1,000.00
4. 1,000.00
5. 1,000.00
6. 1,000.00
7. 1,000.00
8. 1,000.00
9. 1,000.00
10. 1,000.00
11. 1,000.00
12. 1,000.00
13. 1,000.00

w/o 13th check, oft proposed.

1. 1,000.00
2. 1,000.00
3. 1,000.00
4. 1,000.00
5. 1,000.00
6. 1,000.00
7. 1,000.00
8. 1,000.00
9. 1,000.00
10. 1,000.00
11. 1,000.00
12. 1,000.00

(Savings 1,000.00 per recipient)

~ 1,000.00/ 13 ~
with 13th check, but payments reduced to the equivalent of ~ monthly payment amt. divided by 13 and deducted each payout. Equalization amt. added to 13th check.

1. 923.08
2. 932.08
3. 923.08
4. 923.08
5. 923.08
6. 923.08
7. 923.03
8. 923.08
9. 923.08
10. 923.08
11. 923.08
12. 923.08
13. 923.12*


(Savings $1000.00 per recipient)

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that every man/woman on the PEER Committee is also a member of the State Retirement System.

And while Kingfish and others constantly tell us SLRP is a drop in the bucket and is meaningless.....its elimination is a step that needs to be taken. Even a small cancerous lesion needs to be removed.

Anonymous said...

The legislature could simply fund state government rather than slashing budgets to the bone so agencies have to down size, decreasing the number of funders. The more state employees there are, the more funders.

Anonymous said...

It appears at least one contract worker is posting to this site in defense of contract workers (probably while at work with a state agency on a state computer while drawing a state salary and state retirement).

Anonymous said...

Here is an idea, let’s moderize state employee salarys. Can we start with a cost of living increase? Haven’t had one of those ever.

Anonymous said...

2:27....its not hand out. Its earned compensation. If you go to work for me and I promise you $100 on Friday, I should not require a means test on Friday to see if I can get away with paying you less than $100. It was a negotiated contract.

Same for PERS.

Anonymous said...

The problem with the 13th check is that it compounds. And it compounds at a rate that exceeds inflation.

The 13th check is growing for retirees at a rate 3 times what you could have gotten on a guaranteed savings account. That's just not right.

Anonymous said...

If a reduction in the number of state employees is saving money, is it too much to ask
that a portion of those savings be used to shore up PERS ? I know state employees
in Mississippi get a bad rap but quite honestly most I’ve dealt with work hard despite
the low pay .

Anonymous said...

Competent actuaries should be able to estimate when the money will run out based on a few assumptions. I would bet that PERS has that projected year.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Mississippi public school teacher. I had a return of 23 percent in the stock market last year. Maybe I need to work for PERS...

Anonymous said...

"They made 14.98% return in 2017.
My saving only made .04% in 2017."

Hmmm - my worst-forming 403b made 23% last year and my best-performing 403b made over 30%. Vanguard charges around 0.25% in management fees; Fidelity is minimally higher.

I agree with putting it all in index funds and getting rid of most of the "advisers".

11:25 - you are invested in the wrong funds.

Anonymous said...

Lets see a list of all advisors,brokers, consultants and what they are paid in fees every year. And lets see it now.

Anonymous said...

"(or are statutorily deemed to be at a retirement age)."

Please give examples of jobs covered by the State Retirement system that are covered by a 'statutory retirement age'. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Not one single state-wide elected official can explain the shortfall nor the options to fix it. You'll just get the same ole BS read from the script. Just like roads and bridges. This should be a top 3 issue in next year's election. It won't be because nobody understands nor cares.

Anonymous said...

I'm confident with the legislature involved, everything will be ok.

A very concerned resident said...

Finally, Kingfish has opened Pandora's Box

Where do we begin on this mess?

The largest employee in the state, is the state.

Phil Bryant, Tate Reeve's and their little Tea Party train came chugging along put this states retirement system in a pickle, with little regard for the Mississippians that work in those jobs currently and will be retiring from them in the near future.

Fact #1 - retirees in the PERS system receive a cost of living increase, while current state workers/funders have not received a cost of living increase since 2006

Fact #2 - the number of state workers eligible for retirement outnumber non-eligible state employees.

Fact #3 - current state workers will have to increase contributions to keep the fund steady, but when they haven't received a cost of living increase in almost 13 years, that is technically a payout for them

Fact #4 - Phil Bryant and Tate Reeves have slashed state agencies with essential functions to running the state, to the bone. In other words, agencies are operating with less staff and double the work, paying archaic salaries that are the lowest in the southeast region. Their contemporaries in the surrounding states are making $5000 to $150000 more in the same work occupations.

State workers better wake up and get a clue, the Mississippi legislature treats state workers as enemies of the state - you better get off your behinds and start voting with your wallet and not some crazy social ideology.

Anonymous said...

2019 should be interesting. PERS participants are a VERY large contingent of voters. Majority of candidates regard them as the enemy. Meanwhile 3% cost-of-living increases are going to retirees un-noticed every year while state employees have not gotten a raise in almost 10 years. Who can you screw Tate....Gunn....Bryant....no easy answers.

Anonymous said...

Ask any of these tea party leaders to explain time value of money. Or ask them to explain a basic college junior level finance problem. Watch them glaze over and start talking about conservative values, gays and immigrants.

Anonymous said...

MS is run by a Confederacy of Dunces.

Anonymous said...

The 13th check is insane. Defined benefit pension systems are insane. This is why the private sector has gone the way of defined contribution plans.

Know someone who began working for the state at age 18. Retired at 43 and has been retired for over 20 years now. Has not been employed since retiring because a job would interfere with fishing, traveling and watching TV. I assume there are thousands like him and more coming. It's a ridiculous gravy train that those of us working in private sector subsidize with our taxes. It's a culturally acceptable form of welfare.

Anonymous said...

Why did the legislature vote to put the Charter Schools in PERS? Why not a 401k plan?

Anonymous said...

The 13th check is insane. Defined benefit pension systems are insane. This is why the private sector has gone the way of defined contribution plans......................It's a ridiculous gravy train that those of us working in private sector subsidize with our taxes.

I think the 13th check is a fair trade, due to the low pay civil servants receive in Mississippi. With the way Phil Bryant and Tate Reeves have "cut" taxes, you aren't subsidizing anything. That's why our bridges are falling apart, roads are crumbling, education is failing, public health is battling an aids, syphilis, herpes epidemic, along with TB and small pox outbreaks. Environmental Quality can't make inspections, affecting public health and safety.

Decisions have consequences. This state is on not run on air alone, their are people performing behind the scenes in state jobs ensuring people have a peace of mind when traveling roads, eating food, drinking water, not getting ripped off by banks, loan companies, that the people that cut your hair are licensed and if they mess your hair up you can sue, that your cars are not lemons the list is endless and people never think about how their government works for them.

Civil servants do more with less, and that's o.k. - many understand that trade off. You're not going to get rich, but you can earn a humble living, stay in your home state, and contribute to your local communities economy, two-fold.

Seems a lot of people do not understand or see that. They just have contempt for civil servants.

God willing civil servants catch some breaks in the near future, because they deserve it and are long overdue.

Anonymous said...

Here's the solution... Are you ready?

1. Freeze the amount of the thirteenth check. It was dumb to start this 13th check nonsense in the first place, but now that it's with us and is part of the package, it has to stay for those already promised it. But freezing it and not allowing it to increase for a few years is more than reasonable to keep the ship from sinking. Nobody should object to that slight modification. If I'm not mistaken, Barbour proposed this and some loud morons convinced themselves he was taking their 13th check away. Surely those state employees are watching things go to hell in a hand basket and wised up since then... right? :)

2. Drastically change (reduce) benefits for everyone starting in the state system from an upcoming date forward. No 13th check for them. Longer work requirements, etc. This is fair to the old timers who were promised benefits and took the job based on that promise. And it's fair to the youngins just now joining this mess because they know what they're getting when they sign up.

Problem solved. No charge for my services.

Anonymous said...

Phil Bryant, Tate Reeve's and their little Tea Party train came chugging along put this states retirement system in a pickle ...

Ignorance on full display.

Anonymous said...

This problem is going to get much, much worse. At my State agency, half the people there are either at their 25 years or only a few years away. The younger people, who have talent, stay for a few years and leave after realizing that the low pay you started with doesn't change no matter if your knowledge and responsibilities are steadily increasing. The directors/managers know this is a large problem but are close enough to retirement to either not care or don't want to risk their own positions by rocking the boat. There is very little incentive to start a State job as a young person and even less incentive to stay once you realize that your low pay will stay that way.

Cut Them Bastards Off At The Knees.. said...

When the legislature agrees to give agency heads free reign in eliminating people (they remove employee protections) that winds up reducing (they claim) the field of PIN numbers available to an agency. Those PIN numbers represent job slots that cannot be filled. So, the agency head claims to have reduced employee head count. And he claims he's done it by slicing out ineffective, slothful employees and the work will continue.

The agency head has reduced head count and has also reduced the amount of employee and agency contribution flowing into the PERS system every 15 days.

Then the agency head brings in retired employees as independent contractors and they don't count against available PIN numbers. They also don't contribute to the retirement system. They have no benefits and the agency doesn't make FICA distribution payments to the government either.

So we're back to that old American Indian concept of a white man cutting off one end of a blanket and sewing that material to the OTHER end of the blanket and he thinks he has a longer blanket.

We're also looking at insanity from those of you who suggest a means test for employment ought to include whether or not the applicant is already drawing some form of retirement. As if to say, "Hmmm, you have other income so you really don't need to make as much as this job pays so I'll just offer you less". Now there's an incentive to return to work and perform a service for a wage.

Anybody approaching or having achieved state retirement is fully aware that he/she can make more retired if he/she draws PERS as well as Social Security, even at 62. Should the gubment also cut that SS retirement back so the retiree doesn't make a dime over what he did as a state employee? Ignorance, once again, abounds on this blogsite.

Speaking of 'the mysterious 13th check', that's actually a mythical concept. It's nothing more than the state defined COLA being received at one time instead of the optional receipt of it being received monthly. It's not a windfall. You've already earned it according to the guarantee and the formula. You've simply elected to receive it in December rather than in 12 standard retirement checks.

Anonymous said...

*Take Aways*
Okay, so pass some sort of legislation freezing/stopping payouts of the 13th check to future retirees of the PERS system.

Assumption of decreasing returns when overvalued equities price correct in the market as bond yields rise.

Basically, take decisive action to increase chances of future solvency of MPERS without overburdening current individual “funders” whatever that may be. More difficult to do with recently enacted tax cuts.

Grievances with merit:

1) The cards are currently stacked against current state workers as they are paid low wages and are not receiving cost of living adjustments; however, retirees receive cost of living adjustments while collecting payments from the PERS formula.

2) If asked to contribute more per paycheck, the ROI for state employees is nil as it only takes more of their paychecks to cover current recipients and doesn’t address the situation when they retire.

3) The decreased funding of government agencies only exacerbates the issue of funding, as less investors in the plan means less overall collective contributions.

4) Contractors who claim retiree status are rehired back to state agencies while collecting PERS benefits, and thus, are not required to contribute to PERS furthers exacerbating the issue of funding.

5) The chosen investment managers are under performing major indices, while also collecting seemingly exhorbatant fees compared to companies such as Vanguard, which holds a large amount of U.S. pensions and other retirement accounts regulated by the I.R.S. *One can only ask what classification of risk tolerance most of these investments are currently under, as that may have something to do with comparatively meager returns. Higher risk = better returns, but also greater losses if and when the market tanks*

6) Under the current formula agreement, there are more retirees upcoming which will only exacerbate the current issue of contributions vs. payouts......an increasing deficit.

Anonymous said...

@ April 24, 2018 at 11:29 PM

First let me say this, in all fairness, what you are saying is sensible to an extent.

But at the same token, if we make it harder on new participants, it becomes more of a detractor to attract new talent into state service.

As stated previously, the ratio of state workers eligible for retirement outnumber the state workers who are not. Current state workers will have to increase their contributions into the system as well. Which will technically be a paycut for them as well, because all classifications in the state system, the salaries are way under the national and regional average.

Turnover has been two-fold, people eligible for retirement have been cashed in. Retention is terrible because the pay is too low, the medical insurance is meh, but if a person has a family its too expensive. The state doesn't offer any kind of fringe benefit that makes the pay acceptable. There's no student loan debt assistance, no kind of flex scheduling, you have to wait 8 years before you are invested, there's no gradual pay increases. That's how bad it is.

All in all, what you stated was a good idea, but with hindsight, it will hurt more than it will help.

Anonymous said...

Contractors who claim retiree status are rehired back to state agencies while collecting PERS benefits, and thus, are not required to contribute to PERS furthers exacerbating the issue of funding.

That is something that is an easy fix. Retirees should not be allowed to comeback on contract. Its basically double dipping.

Too many roaming around state agencies at this moment, you're retired, stay home!

Anonymous said...

@ April 25, 2018 at 4:04 AM

What's up Tater? Scared to own up to being the Chief Engineer on the Mississippo Tea Party Train? LOL!!!!!

I'll Have A Double-Dip, Please.. said...

What's up with the 'double dipping' regurgitating? You can draw SS while working if you're old enough. Is that double dipping.

You can get a job and work another twenty to forty years if you're military retired. Is that double dipping?

You can be a retired fireman and also run a lawn service and contribute to your Social Security toward retirement. Is that double dipping?

It's a socialist concept to suggest we should have wage limits on income or somehow manipulate a man's retirement that he's earned.

And in response to those who suggest the cost of living increase be eliminated, how about we do that with your social security cost of living increases (however small) since that system seems to be in crisis mode as well.

By the way, most state employees who go to work for the state at 21 and retire 25 years later, move directly into another career opportunity that hopefully leads to many more productive years and is followed by a private sector retirement. Those double-dipping bastards!

Anonymous said...

amen @7:08 - and what about the full-time firemen and police that have jobs on the side because supposedly they couldn't make it otherwise. what a bunch of horsecrap!

Anonymous said...

@ 7:08am and 8:13am

It's a socialist concept to suggest we should have wage limits on income or somehow manipulate a man's retirement that he's earned.

Hell, we are running state government like a business, remember, they affecting operational costs.

Let the retirees get jobs in the private sector.

Both of you ignored the fact that their source of income is coming from the state.

If they want to keep working for the state, then don't retire.

Anonymous said...

2:40 - Your math and your understanding of the 13th check are both seriously flawed. You do not receive 13 checks (in your example) for $1000 each. The 13th check simply arrives on December 15 and represents the sum of what would have been 12 monthly distributions.

The retiree has the option of setting it up to be received in one lump sum or receiving it divied out into each monthly retirement check. Same money, same amount, no savings to the system either way.

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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