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News Service of Florida: Brandes: Solar Amendment Implementation to be ‘As Clean as Possible’

Thursday, August 04, 2016


Voters this month are being asked to approve a constitutional amendment intended to expand the use of alternative energy, primarily solar, in Florida.

But passage of what is known as Amendment 4 is only one step. Supporters are also entrusting the state Legislature to flesh out how the changes are implemented amid anticipated intense lobbying during the 2017 legislative session.

Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican who spearheaded legislation in the 2016 session to put Amendment 4 on the Aug. 30 ballot, said Thursday his goal will be to keep the legislation needed to implement the amendment “as clean as possible.”

Brandes, meeting with reporters at the Florida Press Center with an array of Amendment 4 supports, added that he will be committed to keeping any implementing bill focused on “the goals of Amendment 4.”

Amendment 4 proposes to exempt for 20 years the assessed value of solar and renewable-energy devices installed on businesses and industrial properties, something residential property owners already enjoy. The amendment also proposes to exempt all renewable-energy equipment from state tangible personal property taxes, which could be a boon to the solar industry.

Backers of the amendment range from the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Retail Federation to the Nature Conservancy and the Florida Conservation Voters.

Brandes described the coalition as “Baptists and bootleggers,” without defining who was who.

There has been little announced opposition to the amendment, which needs to receive 60 percent approval from voters to pass.

Jason Hoyt, a conservative radio host and blogger from Central Florida, announced Monday he was creating a political action committee to oppose the amendment.

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