TALLAHASSEE, Fla., July 14, 2016 — Florida Realtors® has joined Floridians, business owners and others in support of Amendment 4, which will be on the Aug. 30 primary election ballot. If passed, Amendment 4 would exempt solar panels on commercial properties from real property taxes – meaning that local tax assessors could not consider the added value from installing solar panels when assessing the value of commercial real property.
Additionally, Amendment 4 would exempt solar panels and equipment installed on all properties from the tangible personal property tax. Lawmakers unanimously voted to create the constitutional amendment during the 2016 Florida Legislature.
According to Carrie O’Rourke, vice president of public policy for Florida Realtors, under current law, solar or renewable energy devices are exempt from real property taxes for residential properties.
“Florida Realtors supports Amendment 4 and encourages voters to say yes on Aug. 30,” said 2016 Florida Realtors President Matey H. Veissi, broker and co-owner of Veissi & Associates in Miami. “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. 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.”
Currently, there are about 6,000 solar jobs in Florida, according to recent legislative research.
“If Amendment 4 passes, it could increase the number of jobs across the state as more business owners install solar panels at their properties,” said Dean Asher, 2013 president of Florida Realtors and a candidate for Florida Senate, District 13. “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.”
During the 2013 legislative session, state lawmakers approved the measure that implemented current law exempting solar or renewable energy devices from real property taxes for residential properties, Asher noted.
A recent poll by the Florida Chamber of Commerce found 64 percent of voter respondents were in favor of Amendment 4, 19 percent opposed and 17 percent undecided. Businesses that support Amendment 4 have formed a coalition, Florida for Solar Inc., which includes the Florida Retail Federation; Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association; Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association; Florida Concrete and Products Association; Florida Independent Pharmacy Network; Advanced Energy Economy; Solar Energy Industry Association; The Nature Conservancy; Sierra Club; Vote Solar; Florida Conservation Voters; Environmental Defense Fund; Southern Alliance for Clean Energy; and Progress Florida.