Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Bill on PERS Rate Hikes Dies

A bill transferring authority to hike PERS contribution rates from the PERS Board of Trustees to the Legislature died on the calendar last week. 

State Representative Charles Busby authored HB #605.  The bill stated: 

From and after the effective date of this act, the employee's contribution rate shall not be increased above the rate that was in effect on January 1, 2023, unless authorized by amendment to this section by the Legislature. History and text of bill.

The House Appropriations Committee passed the bill but it died on the calendar last Thursday.  However, the bill is only on its first "dead" classification.   Public employees groups opposed the bill. The Mississippi Professional Educators Association warned on Facebook: 

As shared in last Friday’s post, HB 605 is a dangerous bill, as it gives financial control of the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi (PERS) to the Mississippi Legislature. HB 605 provides that PERS contribution rates may not be increased unless authorized by the legislature. Such legislative authorization is not required under current law. If HB 605 passes, legislators could base such decisions on what works best for the state budget, rather than what is in the best interest of the retirement system and its members…just like they have consistently underfunded the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP).
HB 605 is on the House calendar. Representatives could vote on it today or tomorrow. House leaders could also decide to let the bill die on the calendar if they do not have the votes to pass the bill due to House members receiving a significant number of calls from concerned state employees, educators, and retirees.

The PERS Board of Trustees voted to raise the employer contribution rate from 17.4% to 22.4%, the largest rate hike ever.  Although PERS consultant Cavanaugh McDonald Consulting recommended implementing the rate hike on July 1, 2024, the Board voted to accelerate the rate hike to October 1, 2023.  Earlier post, including video, of discussion and vote.

PERS Executive Director Ray Higgins said "I plan to recommend to the PERS Board that the effective date of the previously approved employer contribution rate increase be moved from October 1, 2023, to July 1, 2024. This change will provide more time for planning while remaining consistent with actuarial recommendations and acting in the best interest of the membership to ensure the plan is properly funded long term." 

The contribution rate increase will cost state agencies $265 million and municipalities, counties, and hospitals $75 million.  


Anonymous said...

Will the last one to leave the room please turn out the lights-

Anonymous said...

Every Mississippi legislator prays that he/she will never be put into a position requiring a vote to (1) cut PERS benefits, or (2)increase PERS contributions.

Anonymous said...

Sucks to suck and not get that 13th check! Don't hate the player, hate the game!

Anonymous said...

I’d love to see the total amount of pay and retirement divided by the total number of hours worked. Base salary for PERS employees would go up 20% probably. People retiring at 50.

Anonymous said...

When the legislature strips the PERS board of any authority to set contribution rates, that will be referred to as the tipping point.

Anonymous said...

Ha! Hot potato!

Every single one of those feckless idiots probably thought about it and said, "I don't want to be connected to that thing when it crashes - because it's already crashing."

Anonymous said...

I believe part of the problem is that past boards have also not taken actuarial recommendations but chose to believe themselves the experts. Seems like the director may be on to something here.

Anonymous said...

As a PERS member I would love to see the legislature take this on.

The legislature created this crisis over 20 years ago by mandating benefits that the fund couldn't afford and has done nothing to correct it (Republican or Democrat). Taking funding decisions from the PERS board would remove any further boogiemen and place responsibility solely at the feet of those who sit back and criticize the monster they created. Everybody talks about the COLA, but neglects to discuss the Supplemental Legislative Retirement Plan (SLuRP).

Anonymous said...

For a politician, getting re-elected isn't anything....it's everything!

Anonymous said...

I think one thing that can be tackled are the good ol’ high 4 salary positions people get slid into. Maybe cap executive/appointed positions.

Say you are appointed to a position with a salary of $175,000 then only $100,000 gets counted towards the high 4.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile Senator Blount is running ads on facebook that he's going to save PERS and the dignity of state employees. With a 850M budget gap and more retirees than contributors, how's he going to accomplish this without a significant tax increase on the private sector?

Anonymous said...

1:43 PM
Consider that those talking points aren't a negative for Blount and his constituents.

Anonymous said...

It's a vicious cycle we are in with PERS. People in it want to protect it. People not in it want to do away with it. They've upped the retirement to 30 years in before one can retire. Work on it that way. The people that took a job with lower pay back in the day for the retirement should have PERS honor this. New employees should be made aware of the issue and should be paid more at the beginning of their career. The people not in it should be a little smarter before they bash those employees that are in it. It doesn't help your cause and makes the other people circle the wagons and there's enough of those people with their families that can change an election.

Anonymous said...

PERS is just another government handout that most people on this page complain about. Do away with it. Private citizens should have to help these people. Same goes for the people wanted student loan forgiveness. Good for nothing drains on society. “Waaaahhh… but, but I did my time..”

Anonymous said...

So republicans have complete control of the government in MS

Republicans know the problem with PERS.

Republicans refuse to solve the problem.

Republicans are the problem.

Anonymous said...

3:24 PM
Speaking as someone who was in it with a 30 year horizon and got out and pulled my money out of it I think that defined contribution is the way to go forward.

Anonymous said...

Funny stuff 4:46 PM!

February 14, 2023 at 4:46 PM’s post(s) – along with the leftist Democrat so-called journalist(s) - begging Republicans to commit political suicide by correcting the PERS mess created by leftist Democrats – needs to be UNDERSTOOD.

Leftist Democrats give out the goodies (create the disasters like PERS) then beg Republicans to commit political suicide by taking the goodies away – so leftist Democrats get control – in this case - of the state of Mississippi.

Just like when leftist Democrats destroy cities like Jackson with their high crime – to keep voters that won’t vote Democrat from living there – then blame the state for the problems of the city that leftist Democrats have controlled - i.e. been destroying for decades.

It’s the human nature “this government will not last because the citizens have realized they can vote themselves currency from the treasury” – BIG SCAM.

And - there’s plenty of D A Republicans in this state that will take the bait.

Anonymous said...

6:12 - Stop saying 'leftist democrats'. I detest and hate repetitive redundancy.

Anonymous said...

Let’s raise PERS contributions (taxes) on all the broke municipalities, counties and state agencies so they can not hire more employees and charge their residents more and further reduce economic activity and taxes in the state. Yeh, that makes a lot of sense. You Democrats are the dumbest life forms on the planet.

Here's Your Sign... said...

@ 6:35 - Your taxes have not been raised in DECADES. In fact, while you were asleep, the state is deciding on how to eliminate your income tax.

Anonymous said...

Property and sales taxes have been raised by counties and municipalities across Mississippi over the last few decades.

Anonymous said...

@ 1:43 of course he wants to save PERS, considering his wife makes 120k as a state employee...

State employee wages can easily be found out openthebooksdotcom

Anonymous said...

@8:47pm, are you on PERS retirement? If so, how much do you pay in state income taxes per year?

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