A three-year moratorium on cost of living allowances, or COLAs, for Mississippi’s retired public employees is a key recommendation of a report that will be released by Gov. Haley Barbour Wednesday.
The moratorium recommended by a Barbour-appointed study commission could save the Public Employees Retirement System of Mississippi about $40 million annually for three years but would deprive about 80,000 retirees of income needed to keep up with higher prices for housing, food, energy and other necessities. The Mississippi Legislature must approve any changes to current benefits or retirement eligibility requirements.
PERS covers retired state and county and municipal employees as well as public school teachers and administrators. PERS also covers community college employees.
Workers pay 9 percent of their wages into the retirement system while employers contribute 12 percent. The employer share is scheduled to increase to 12.93 percent on Jan. 1. Barbour has lamented what he says is the burden the public employees retirement system has placed on the state’s taxpayers and called for reforms.
Barbour and PERS Study Commission Chairman George Schloegel will present the recommendations of the study commission at 2:15 p.m. Wednesday in the Governor’s Press Room on the 18th floor of the Sillers Building, 550 High St.
The press conference will be webcast at www.governorbarbour.com.