After careful consideration and counsel, the Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi (PERS) Board of Trustees voted at its June 23 meeting to initially adopt staff recommendations to revert select language in section 102:1a-1b of PERS Regulation 34, Reemployment after Retirement, that allowed PERS retirees to serve in the state Legislature while continuing to receive benefit payments. Other minor and unrelated changes were also made to the regulation. Click here to read latest version of Regulation 34.
Staff recommendations were based on current Mississippi Law
Attorney General Opinions, guidance from the Attorney General’s Office and
Ice Miller (PERS’ outside tax counsel), and the Internal Revenue Service’s
(IRS) recent decision to decline to rule on PERS’ private letter ruling request
about the Board’s December 2019 revisions to Regulation 34 that allowed
retirees to serve and continue receiving benefits. (Click here to view the IRS' written response.).
We certainly support our retirees, but we must do what is in
the best interest of the system based on the various laws and regulations. As a
reminder, complying with IRS requirements allows PERS to maintain its qualified
status. This qualified status pertains to federal tax law and is very important
to the System and individual members.
The Board will meet in August to vote on a final adoption of
the reverted regulation, in accordance with the Mississippi Administrative
Again, our retirees and members are important to us; but, as
fiduciaries, we must always act in the best interest of the system as a whole. Thank
-Ray Higgins, PERS executive director
In November 2018 and January 2019, Mississippi’s
Attorney General (then Jim Hood) issued opinions regarding PERS retirees
serving in the Mississippi Legislature and continuing to receive benefits. In
response to these opinions, the PERS Board of Trustees approved initial
adoption in April 2019 of revisions to PERS Board Regulation 34, Reemployment
after Retirement, to allow PERS retirees to serve in the state Legislature
while continuing to receive benefit payments under certain
conditions. These revisions were officially adopted by the Board at their
December 17 meeting. To confirm whether the revised regulation complied with
IRS requirements for maintaining the System’s qualified tax status, the
proposed regulation was submitted (prior to final adoption) to the IRS during
the summer of 2019 with a request for issuance of a private letter ruling. The
IRS responded in May 2020 that they declined to rule on the private letter
ruling request, which is their prerogative under federal law.