MS Proposal Would Increase State Worker Contributions to Pensions

April 23, 2010 ( – Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour called a special legislative session this week to consider a proposed change in the state employees retirement system that would require workers to contribute more.

The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports that under the proposal, government workers would have an additional 1.75% of pay taken from their checks to fund their retirement accounts. The increase is needed to make up for stock market losses and to pay for benefit enhancements passed in the late 1990s that were never fully funded, the governor’s office says, according to the news report.  

Currently, employees pay 7.25% of their salaries into the retirement system and state and local governments pay 12%. Workers haven’t seen an increase in their required contribution since 1991, while taxpayers have been picking up a larger and larger share to keep the system sound, the news report said.  

The House passed the legislation by an 81-39 vote late Thursday evening and sent it to the Senate, which will take up the proposal Friday.  

Actuaries say the Public Employees’ Retirement System needs a $90-million boost next year, roughly $57 million of which would come from the general fund if the legislature doesn’t act.