I have also introduced Senate Bill 2680. If passed, it would require the the Public Employees’ Retirement System to conduct a thorough and comprehensive study of the Supplemental Legislative Retirement Plan (SLRP) to determine the feasibility and cost of closing SLRP to new members and/or giving members the option to withdraw from SLRP. A detailed report of its findings and recommendations would be reported to the legislature no later than December 1, 2012.
Created in 1989, SLRP is a special program for legislators, allowing them additional retirement benefits in addition to the regular retirement they receive under the PERS system. Pursuant to Section 25-11-309 of the Mississippi Code, the program grants lawmakers a remarkable “time and a half” retirement pay in comparison to other state employees. Put another way, legislators are the only public employees who get an additional fifty percent more in retirement.
Although the size of the fund, when compared to the rest of the state’s budget, is small and the benefits paid are relatively modest, the special treatment given to legislators is difficult, if not impossible, to defend.
Assuming the supplemental plan is not closed, then it is only fair that individual members be allowed to opt-out, if they prefer.
I have already attempted to opt-out but discovered that present law would not allow me to leave SLRP. After the study required in SB 2680 is conducted, I plan to introduce additional legislation designed to allow individual opt-outs or even to eliminate the program, if feasible, for newly elected lawmakers.
Once passed, it is my intention to exit the program, as I do not believe that I deserve a better retirement program than do our teachers, law enforcement and others who serve the state.
It is my opinion that elected politicians should not receive any retirement perks that are not available to other government employees.
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