Democrats blast proposed changes to state pensions

“Leave our money alone!”

That statement by Sen. Kenny Wayne Jones, D-Canton, sums up Democrats’ reaction to proposals to freeze cost-of-living increases for retired public employees.

A group of Democrats at a news conference Tuesday attacked proposal, which Sen. Nancy Collins, R-Tupelo, has said she’s considering introducing as a bill. Collins has also said she’d like to increase the size of the board of the Public Employees Retirement System, which now has 10 members, by adding appointees not chosen by employees. She also wants to wipe out the special retirement benefit for lawmakers.

Collins told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal last week ( ) that she was developing a proposal to freeze retirees’ annual 3 percent cost-of-living increase for three years. Collins said she would also propose giving the governor and lieutenant governor three additional appointments each to the PERS board. Currently, eight members are elected by various groups of public employees and retirees. The governor has one appointee and the state treasurer also serves.