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St. Pete Chamber urges members to vote ‘yes’ on solar Amendment 4

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce endorsed Amendment 4, a grass-roots effort to encourage the use of solar power by providing tax breaks to those who install solar equipment.

The latest edition of the chamber’s newsletter says, “Chamber members are encouraged to vote for YES on Amendment 4 on the Aug. 30th ballot. Amendment 4 would remove personal property tax and real estate taxes on solar energy systems. The Chamber voted to support YES on 4 and yard signs are available at the Chamber.”

The decision to endorse Amendment 4 passed without opposition, according to minutes of the meeting in which it passed.

“This proposal will give Florida business an economic incentive to invest in solar and renewable energy devices and reflects some of the most substantial progress in encouraging the use of solar and renewable energy for Florida in decades,” the group’s sustainability task force said in asking for the endorsement.

Amendment 4 would amend Florida’s Constitution to exempt the value of solar panels and other renewable energy equipment from both the tangible personal property tax and the real property tax. To become law, Amendment 4 must be approved by a “yes” vote of at least 60 percent on the Aug. 30 primary ballot. All voters can cast ballots in the Amendment 4 referendum.

Specifically, the chamber says the amendment is advantageous to both businesses and individuals because it would provide a 20-year property tax break for renewable energy source devices on all real property. In addition, the amendment would ban county property appraisers from considering the installation of a renewable energy source device in the assessed value of the property for ad valorem taxation.

The tax breaks would be retroactive to existing renewable energy installations and would give Florida businesses an economic incentive to invest in solar and renewable energy devices.

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