STARKVILLE — When Gov. Haley Barbour and Treasurer Tate Reeves first talked publicly in 2010 about concerns about the state’s Public Employee Retirement System in the wake a critical study citing unfunded liabilities, state legislators in essence turned a deaf ear to discussions of reforming PERS.
That after the two GOP state officials simply had the temerity to point out that over the last decade, the Legislature raised state employee retirement benefits without providing a funding mechanism while simultaneously failing to set aside funds to meet future retiree health care benefits. Those actions cast some financial shadows over the state’s once-pristine retirement system.
There was a reason legislators balked. Lawmakers simply don’t want the increased scrutiny that any discussion of PERS reform will have on the Legislature’s own enhanced retirement benefits.