Analysis: Report says Mississippi pension funding too low
A new report says that even if Mississippi’s public employee pension system was meeting investment assumptions, governments still aren’t putting away enough money to whittle down debt from previous pension underfunding.
The study, released last week by the Pew Charitable Trusts, raises questions about the long-term course of the Public Employees Retirement System, though the system has enough money to pay years’ worth of benefits even if governments and employees didn’t put in another penny.
“You’ve heard me say, and I still believe, we’re not in a crisis,” said outgoing PERS Executive Director Pat Robertson. “Are there concerns? Yes.”
PERS covers state employees, public school teachers, city and county employees, and those who work for public universities and community colleges.
The Pew report tries to measure whether contributions from employers and employees are enough to reduce the gap between assets and benefits owed if investment expectations are met. While 32 states did reduce that debt in 2015, the year the Pew report covers, Mississippi fell short, putting in only 97 percent of what’s needed.