South Carolina Legislature refers two constitutional amendments to the 2022 ballot to increase General Reserve and Capital Reserve Funds

South Carolina voters will decide on two constitutional amendments in 2022. One of the amendments would increase the General Reserve Fund from 5% of state general fund revenue to 7%. The increase would be 0.5% percentage points each year until reaching 7%.

The state’s General Reserve Fund can be used to cover year-end operating deficits. If funds are used, the General Reserve Fund must be restored to the constitutionally mandated full amount within five years, with a minimum of 1% added back to the fund each year.

The other amendment would increase the Capital Reserve Fund from 2% to 3% of state general fund revenue and provide that the first use of the Capital Reserve Fund is to offset midyear budget reductions. Funds from the Capital Reserve Fund can be used to cover year-end operating deficits. The Capital Reserve Fund must be used to cover year-end deficits before the General Reserve Fund. If there is no year-end operating deficit and the General Reserve Fund is fully funded at the amount required by the state constitution (currently 5% of state general fund revenue), money in the the Capital Reserve Fund can be appropriated through a two-thirds (66.67%) supermajority vote of legislators for certain purposes. These purposes include:

  • to fund authorized capital improvement bond projects;
  • to retire the interest or principal on past bonds; or
  • for capital improvements or other nonrecurring purposes.

Money not appropriated from the Capital Reserve Fund are returned to the state general fund at the end of a fiscal year.

To put these legislatively referred constitutional amendments before voters, a two-thirds (66.67%) supermajority vote was required in both the South Carolina State Senate and the South Carolina House of Representatives.

The measures were referred to the ballot through Senate Joint Resolution 1106. SJR 1106 was approved in the Senate on March 17, 2022, by a 43-0 vote. On May 4, 2022, the House amended the proposal and unanimously approved it, sending it back to the Senate. The Senate concurred with the House’s amendments on June 15, 2022, by a 40-1 vote.

In South Carolina, a total of 54 ballot measures appeared on the statewide ballot between 1985 and 2018. Forty-five ballot measures were approved and 9 ballot measures were defeated.

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