BY: Steve Wilson |

A new report by nonprofit State Budget Solutions says Mississippi’s Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi is carrying $56 billion in unfunded liabilities, worst in the nation — now at 53 percent of the gross state product in 2013. It covers only 27 percent of the state’s liabilities, which is fifth-worst.

The state’s PERS system — according to its latest financial report — paints a far rosier portrait. It has just $14.4 billion in unfunded liabilities, according to its latest report. That’s still far below the 80 percent funding level considered the benchmark for a healthy pension fund.

Joe Luppino-Esposito, author of the study and an editor and general counsel of State Budget Solutions, said via email the study uses a “fair market valuation” to calculate the unfunded liability of the nation’s pension funds, now up to $4.7 trillion nationwide and counting.

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