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Appropriations Committee vote sends solar tax break bill to the Senate floor

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Senate implementing legislation for last year’s solar energy referendum passed its final committee test Thursday, when the Appropriations Committee voted its unanimous approval.

The bill by St. Petersburg Sen. Jeff Brandes  would implement $54.5 million in annual solar breaks on local taxes, approved by Florida voters via Amendment 4 in August.

SB 90, supported by environmental groups and solar panel installers, lacks the same safety standards and disclosure requirements found in the House version, HB 1351.

Brandes said the House is moving toward the Senate’s position.

“We’re going to continue to work with them. The landing site in in sight on this bill,” Brandes said.

“I would imagine there will be some changes to this bill as we get to the floor,” he added.

Seventy-three percent of Florida voters backed the constitutional amendment, which shields the increased value of a home due to renewable energy improvements such as solar panels in property value assessments.

The Senate version would would apply to solar devices on all real property, including commercial establishment, irrespective of date of installation.

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Michael Moline is a former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal and managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal. Previously, he reported on politics and the courts in Tallahassee for United Press International. He is a graduate of Florida State University, where he served as editor of the Florida Flambeau. His family’s roots in Jackson County date back many generations.

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