Many have asked how they should vote on the 2 ballot questions. I plan to vote YES to both.
Here’s an editorial a colleague of mine shared:
On the ballot in November, there will be two Constitutional Amendment Questions for South Carolina voters to decide. These amendments, if passed, will boost South Carolina’s rainy day reserve funds and ensure that we are prepared as a state to meet future economic downturns. A YES vote is a vote to require the state to spend less, and save more every year. A YES vote will require the state to place ten (10%) percent of its total revenues into its General Reserve Fund and its Capital Reserve Fund.
Currently, the South Carolina constitution requires the legislature to place five 5% of revenues in a General Reserve Fund and 2% percent of revenues in a Capital Reserve Fund. These amendments would raise those requirements to a total of 10% of revenues in these rainy-day funds without raising taxes.
A YES vote on these amendments is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it allows the state to smartly save to meet the needs of South Carolina’s future and our challenges ahead. Every year it becomes more and more expensive to maintain and improve essential government service, therefore every year we need to save more to ensure we can meet the needs of South Carolina’s citizens in the event of an economic downturn or other crisis. Our state is on sound financial footing due to the robust economy created by the citizens of South Carolina and the work of the legislature to ensure that we wisely appropriate tax revenues.
The harsh truth is that an economic downturn is coming. There always is economic hardship just over the horizon. It is unfortunate when it happens – but we must plan NOW and be prepared in our resources NOW, to ensure that when that happens, we can continue to operate the core functions of government for the citizens of South Carolina.
These funds are not slush funds. The General Reserve Fund can only be used when the state is facing a budget shortfall. They cannot be touched for any special projects by the legislature unless there is a budget shortage. These increased savings will be phased in over a period of several years by adding a half of a percent to reserves every year for the next four years. Under current growth projections, that will lead to an increase of approximately $51 million additional funds placed into the General Reserve Fund and the same to the Capital Reserve Fund. Last year, the legislature added an extra $52 million to the General Reserve Fund. Thanks to years of conservative planning and budgeting, we can now afford to plan for the future.
A YES vote will help ensure South Carolina is ready to meet the economic challenges that lie ahead. This is sound fiscal policy that will positively impact the future of South Carolina. I hope you will join me in voting YES on both Constitutional Amendments on the ballot in November.