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Solar Amendment Belongs on the Florida Ballot

March 4, 2016 - 6:00pm

Florida has spent recent years building up its reputation as a business-first state that is dedicated to finding ways to promote company growth, create jobs and stimulate the economy.

One industry that is growing in Florida and is on the brink of a jobs boon is next-generation solar energy technology. According to a recent report by The Solar Foundation, Florida ranks in the top ten states for solar jobs with thousands employed, but there’s no good reason our sunny state should not be closer to the top of that list.

Solar energy production in the Sunshine State is not new. In 2008, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing homeowners a tax exemption if they installed solar panels on their homes. While property values increase with the installation of solar panels, homeowners are not burdened with additional taxes to their property. Utility companies continue to invest in solar technology as do residents and businesses, but more can be done by simply removing barriers that keep us lagging behind other states.

As Florida lawmakers continue to promote tax fairness and job creation, we urge them to pass Senate Bill 172 (and SJR 170) and House Bill 195 (and HJR 193). This legislation will allow for an amendment to be placed on the ballot for voters to decide if businesses deserve the same tax fairness that homeowners currently receive for the installation of solar panels. If passed, this would be a step in the right direction to remove onerous barriers to solar investment for new installations.

The Florida Retail Federation is dedicated to promoting new business, increasing employment and stimulating the economy. We believe that these bills will spur investment in a competitive new energy industry and create jobs in Florida.

This legislation is a common sense approach to applying tax fairness that will clear the way for businesses to invest in solar energy. And by opening up the door for more solar development, more companies that design, manufacture, sell and lease solar equipment would also be encouraged come to this great state or expand here in Florida. The Solar Foundation data shows that solar jobs are local jobs, and by allowing our businesses to “go solar” as they do in other states, we can expect to create more solar jobs here in Florida.

Offering the same options for commercial properties, that currently exists for residential, would allow Florida businesses to take control of their energy bills and invest further in our new energy economy.

This legislation is business-first and ideal for Florida’s job-friendly environment. We urge the Florida Legislature to pass this legislation this session. We encourage our lawmakers to give Florida voters the opportunity to support this ballot amendment in November.

Randy Miller is president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation.

 

Comments

See past your party idiocracy. Because 1 solar company failed, we should throw in the towel on all solar? If idiots like this were in control, we would still be in horse drawn carriages. As long as your talking of failed bailouts. What about the GM, Chrysler bailouts? It is estimated they saved 250,000+ jobs, and made the US gov't a 1 billion dollar return on the loans, while returning GM to its rightful place atop the auto industry. Not to mention economists point to this one move as one of the biggest contributions to pulling us out of the recession. I am an independent, and credit and investment should be given its due consideration... How 'bout those apples (facts)...classic.

Yup,...the "solar amendment" belongs on the ballot; along with the "marijuana amendment"...(smoking "pot" in the sunshine would seem to always bring on a new 'high')..... Voters must always be wary of promoting "Amendments";...they have a nasty way of bringing on unforseen and painful consequences.

Another tax cut on business and an increase on the people to make up for it.-------------------------------------------------- Because of repubs I can't make a 100 employee factory building, installing and maintaining home, business size wind generators as illegal sell sell my main product, low cost clean power in Fla.----------------------------------------------- This same law is why solar is so small in our state and has cost us 30,000 good paying jobs because repubs are bought and paid for by the utilities.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So if you want to do something for Fla solar, clean power and jobs making it legal to sell electricity is the way and net metering. You know, an actual free market repubs are suppose to be for but keep taking legal bribes to stop..

Remember "SOLINDRA"!: That was an "Obama Democrat" boondoggle that cost TAXPAYERS B-I-L-L-I-O-N-S (of $$$$$$$$$'s)...[THAT's why "solar" is "so small in your State" "jerryd"],...... {Because TAXPAYERS always remember when they have been "royally screwed" by politicians ! }

Solyndra did not cost "billions" though, 535 Million is a ton of money to lose. The Reason that went down the drain, rarely gets reported on. It went Kaput, because competition in the industry and efficiency of the products combined to drive the price down, and Solyndra could not make a profit with their business model. On the one hand, I don't want our Government helping any business, that is going to lose money. On the other hand, if Solar Energy makes our environment much cleaner, while giving us ENERGY that goes DOWN every year in price, rather than (long term trend speaking) go UP, well what Private company would take the risk? Sometimes, Government has to step in, to do the right thing, rather than the most profitable thing. Imagine, long term, if we are totally energy independent..and much of our industry and our homes, are run on energy that costs, next to nothing. Think of how much money we will all have to spend on other things. It is complicated..and we should all beware of government investment in business. But..it doesn't hurt, to dig beneath the tweet, too. And..just like any business, some investments work, some don't. Knowing that, should we just NEVER INVEST in business ideas? If the answer is yes, we would not have an auto industry. (don't tell me about Ford. Ford would not be here if they had not taken a 7 bilion dollar Government loan, to retool towards efficiency, which allowed them to become competitive..they were bailed out too. They don't get the press, because they took the bailout..BEFORE the recession)

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