Mississippi State Government & Agencies
BPF strives to inform citizens and elected officials on its views regarding public policies that benefit or cause hard to Mississippi's economic condition. Bigger Pie believes sound public policy grounded in fiscal responsibility is a cornerstone to successful communities.
We congratulate Dr. Rankins, the IHL Board of Trustees, and university presidents for working collaboratively to improve the financial position of IHL. Their efforts have worked, as reflected through the system’s strong financial position. Yet, risks outside the control of IHL remain.
When the PERS Board voted to increase taxpayer funding by raising the “employer contribution rate” five percentage points at a cost of $265 million, most attention was given to state-supported entities (think: agencies, K-12 public schools, community colleges, and public universities). Yet the total funding required by this rate hike is $345 million, with some $80 million in new financial obligations placed squarely on the shoulders of Mississippi’s cities and counties. Unless something changes, the new rate (and higher costs) become effective July 1, 2024.
As lawmakers evaluate the state retirement plan, it is important to understand historical context, the origins of PERS, and its current benefit structure. The lawmakers who developed the system anticipated that members – those who benefit from the plan – would cover most plan liabilities, not taxpayers.
The Mississippi Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) faces significant financial and structural challenges – and Mississippians deserve to know more about this complex issue. After all, changes to the system directly affect our citizens’ pocketbooks.
Our state leaders claim to be champions of free market principles but often act as enemies. Our current laws are full of protectionism. So many of our policies scream, “We don’t want your business here.” Mississippi can’t be “open for business” when it shuts the door on competition.
This year, the General Fund has a rare, large surplus that presents an opportunity for tax cuts (such as a possible elimination of the state’s income tax, [personal but not corporate]) or spending in sectors such as education or infrastructure.