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New survey shows Amendment 4 solar initiative getting 56 percent support

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An initiative that would give a property tax break for renewable energy to residents and businesses, is getting strong support heading into the August 30 primary election in Florida.

A St. Pete Poll survey released on Wednesday shows that Amendment 4 is garnering 56 percent support to 16 percent against, with 27 percent undecided.

Florida hasn’t had a constitutional amendment referendum in the state primaries since 1984. There is some confusion regarding this issue and Amendment 1, another solar power constitutional amendment that will be on the November 8 ballot.

Unlike that measure, however, Amendment 4 is supported by both Republicans and Democrats. It comes directly from the Legislature, where St. Petersburg Republican state Senator Jeff Brandes sponsored it in the Senate. Pensacola Republican Ray Rodrigues was the prime sponsor in the House, and South Florida Democrat Lori Berman was a co-sponsor in the House.

This is the official ballot language of the measure:

“Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to exempt from ad valorem taxation the assessed value of solar or renewable energy source devices subject to tangible personal property tax, and to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to prohibit consideration of such devices in assessing the value of real property for ad valorem taxation purposes. This amendment takes effect Jan. 1, 2018, and expires on Dec. 31, 2037.”

The poll also asked voters if they would support an open primary system, where independents could participate in primary elections like the one coming up later this month. The result showed that there is strong support for such a system, with 59 percent in support and 28 percent opposed, with another 13 percent undecided.

The poll robocaller 5,358 likely primary voters on Tuesday, Aug. 2. It has a 1.3 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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