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Amendment 4 Authors Plugging Solar Tax Cuts

The sponsor of the Legislature’s solar energy tax cutting measure says he’s confident it will pass, even though the August 30 primary is just around the corner.

Amendment 4 would give businesses that install solar systems the same property tax breaks homeowners already enjoy.

Republican Senator Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg said Amendment 4 wouldn’t have earned unanimous support in the Legislature if it didn’t make sense.

“When people try to do the right thing by installing solar panels on top of their roofs, they shouldn’t be taxed for doing the right thing. And so this allows us to extend that beyond residential to all residential and commercial properties.”

Brandes stood at a press conference between business groups and environmental advocates and bragged about bringing together what he calls the Baptists and the bootleggers.

Randy Miller, president of the Florida Retail Federation, said it’s hard to argue with a measure that combines lower taxes with an environmental payoff.

“We’ve always said if we can open up the market, there will be innovations and the price of solar energy will continually drop.”

But before that can happen, 60 percent of voters will have to put the measure over the top.  And then it will be up to lawmakers to work out the details in an implementing bill.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.