State’s public retirement system holding up compared to others

However, state auditor’s report says PERS could use improvements in some areas

State’s public retirement system holding up compared to others
A review of Mississippi public employee retirement system revealed the good and where improvements were needed. (Source: Office of the State Auditor)

JACKSON, Miss. (WDAM) – The Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi operates well in some areas when compared to pensions in other states, according to a report released Thursday by State Auditor Shad White.

But, PERS could be improved in other areas, the report said.

“In late 2018, I requested this study to determine how Mississippi’s pension plan is doing compared to other states,” White said in a release. “My hope is that this overview will provide policymakers and PERS leadership with information that can help them make decisions in the future.

“I also hope that it provides state employees, pensioners and taxpayers with transparency into how PERS is performing.”

Key findings listed in the report include:

  • As of 2018, Mississippi ranked 39th among all the states when it comes to the “funded ratio” of a pension. The funded ratio is a pension’s assets divided by its liabilities
  • Mississippi ranked 42nd when it came to operating cash flow to assets. The ratio has deteriorated over the last 20 years
  • PERS’ investments have underperformed the S&P 500 since 2010. However, the performance of PERS’ investments during that time has been in the top quartile of the 50 states
  • Over the next 20 years, if the state increases the employer contributions as a percentage of state revenue to about 12 percent, the financial stability of PERS will improve over time.

The study was conducted for the Office of the State Auditor for no charge by the Pew Charitable Trusts, an internationally-respected, non-partisan public policy research organization.

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