Florida Realtors has announced its support for Amendment 4, a measure on the Aug. 30 primary ballot that would extend a tax break for solar devices on homes to businesses and industrial facilities.
The amendment, sponsored by Sen Jeff Brandes and Rep. Ray Rodrigues in the 2016 session, would exempt solar units from both property taxes and tangible personal property taxes on commercial properties.
“It will encourage Florida’s business community to invest in solar, which will expand the use of clean energy and help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” said Matey Veissi, the Realtors president and co-owner of Veissi & Associates in Miami.
“In turn, increased solar energy will help preserve our natural environment for future generations. As the Sunshine State, Florida should be in the forefront of solar choice for businesses and consumers,” Veissi said.
Dean Asher, a former Realtors president and candidate for Senate District 13, said passage of the amendment could expand employment opportunities in a solar industry that already employs 6,000 workers.
“If Amendment 4 passes, it could increase the number of jobs across the state as more business owners install solar panels at their properties,” he said. “Removing tax penalties and making solar and other renewable energy options more affordable in Florida will spark more interest in using solar energy – and that benefits both residents and business owners across Florida.”
If passed by 60 percent of the votes and then implemented by the Legislature, the tax incentives of the amendment will begin in 2018 and extend for 20 years.
A recent Florida Chamber of Commerce poll showed 64 percent of voters in favor of the measure, with 19 percent opposed and 17 percent undecided.
The Realtors, who have 155,000 members in Florida, join a large contingent of Amendment 4 supporters, including the Florida Retail Federation, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Solar Energy Industry Association, The Nature Conservancy and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.