PERS officials are quick to point out that Mississippi’s pension system is not in “crisis” at this time and that’s true. But our state’s share of the national economic problem of low rates of return on pension system investments and a growing imbalance in the number of retired employees drawing cash out of the system as opposed to the number of workers paying into the system are combining to produce conditions that are likely to produce a crisis.
The bad news? There are few decisions that confront Mississippi lawmakers and executive branch official alike more than changes to the PERS system or even the perception of changes to the system.
Actuarial assumptions project investment growth of 7.75 percent annually in an average year. The last two years, that growth has been 3.4 percent and 2.1 percent. That’s not sustainable in the long term.