State Politics

Barbour calls special session for state retirment system

Gov. Haley Barbour called a Special Session today to increase state, city, county and school district employees’ contribution into the retirement system by less than 2 percent to ensure the pension remains solvent. If approved, it would be the first increase in employee contributions since 1991.

The session will begin at 1 p.m. today and will run concurrently with the remaining days of the regular legislative session. Legislators are in Jackson this week to finalize the Fiscal Year 2011 budget.

“Nobody here likes this; however, both Houses understand that we have to protect our state employees’ future pensions, and we have to protect our pension recipients today,” Governor Barbour said in a press conference today. “If we don’t do this then $70 million will be lost to the general fund which will undoubtedly result in people being laid off, perhaps 1,000 or more layoffs if departments and agencies have to take this out of their budgets.”