A Senate panel approved a bill by St. Petersburg Sen. Jeff Brandes that would implement solar tax breaks approved by Florida voters in last year.
More than 70 percent of Florida voters backed Amendment 4 in August, which makes it so the increased value of a home due to renewable energy improvements such as solar panels can’t be included when assessing a property’s value for tax purposes.
Opponents of the House bill say most of those regulations are handled elsewhere in state law and they would only put a damper on solar panel sales. The Energy & Policy Institute said most of the language in that bill was written by utility company Florida Power & Light.
Brandes told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Finance and Tax that he is in talks with the House on an implementing bill for the tax break, but said he hasn’t agreed to the extra regulations in their bill.
The Republican lawmaker said, “all the options are on the table” when asked if he would be willing to let his bill die if he can’t reach an agreement with the House on the so-called consumer protections.
“Clearly we’d prefer a clean bill,” he said.
The committee approved SB 90 with a unanimous vote and it now moves on to the full Senate Appropriations Committee, its last stop before its ready for the chamber floor.
The House’s preferred bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Ray Rodrigues, is awaiting action from the Commerce Committee.
A House bill filed by Democrat Lori Berman that is identical to Brandes’ solution has yet to be heard in committee.