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Report To The People

Yalobusha PERS Recipients Receive Millions

By Rep. Tommy Reynolds

Last week I attended a briefing of the House Appropri-ations Committee on the state of Mississippi’s Public Employees Retirement System. The Public Employees Retire-ment System of Mississippi called “PERS” provides ongoing retirement benefits to approximately 79,100 Miss-issippians.

According to figures with which we were presented including a county-by-county breakdown of benefits paid in the last fiscal year, PERS retirees or their spouses in the three counties that I represent received approximately $60 Million in PERS retirement benefits for last year alone..

The PERS system covers retired state employees, university employees, public school employees and most county and municipal employees.

The director of PERS reviewed the status of the retirement system. The head of the retirement system said, “PERS is financially sound.” I believe it is very important that we continue to have a state retirement system that is financially sound. In addition, there was discussion of maintenance of the 13th check benefit, and there was general agreement that no legislation that would adversely affect the 13th check would be considered by the House of Representatives this year, but that this benefit be preserved for our retirees. The director of PERS reviewed all the funds that are invested and the rates of return that the PERS fund has been receiving on its investments for the last several years. Our area certainly would be adversely affected if the PERS system were to be jeopardized as so many of the families in our area depend on PERS benefits. I believe that the promise of retirement benefits to those properly qualifying for these benefits is a commitment that must and should be kept.

On Thursday, I attended a meeting of both the House and Senate members that detailed how revenue collections were being received by the State for the current fiscal year which ends on June 30, 2010 and what revenue projections look like for the next fiscal year. Dr. Phil Pepper, a long serving state economist, spoke to assembled House and Senate members and indicated that likely economic condition that the state would confront in the next fiscal year was a slow recovery in which state revenues would not increase at historical averages.

If I can be of any assistance to you please call on me. My phone number in Jackson during the session is (601) 359-3365. The phone number in my Charleston office is (662) 647-3203, and my residence phone number is (662) 473-2571. I can also be contacted by writing me at my home address of 15 CR 429, Water Valley, MS 38965, or at my office address of P.O. Box 280, Charleston, MS 38921.

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