SAINT LEO – Florida voters support two different alternative energy
proposals that will be on the ballot in August and November, according to the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.
The polling institute director likes
the chances of the amendments passing.
“I think Amendment Four is going to go through pretty unscathed,” Frank Orlando
told the Florida Record. "There really isn't any opposition to it, and it
seems pretty popular.”
Amendment Four is a bipartisan
bill sponsored by two state Republicans (Sen. Jeff Brandes of St.
Petersburg and Rep. Ray Rodrigues of Fort Myers) and a Democrat (Rep. Lori
Berman of Boynton Beach). It will be on the ballot for the Aug. 30 primary election.
The bill, which is supported by 68 percent in the poll, would
exempt solar power equipment on homes from being counted toward a
house’s value for property tax purposes. It also would exempt from
taxation solar energy devices on commercial and industrial properties.
Amendment Four is opposed
by 7 percent, with 25 percent unsure.
“I think Amendment Four is
pretty straightforward, but the language of Amendment One might make it difficult
for voters to understand,” Orlando said. “The Florida Supreme Court
struggled with the interpretation, so it's likely that citizens will struggle
Amendment One was favored
by 77 percent in the poll and it granted state residents the right to own or lease equipment that produces solar energy
for personal use. Only seven percent opposed the measure, with another 16
percent undecided. Amendment 1 will be on the ballot in November.
The Florida Supreme Court approved
the amendment’s language by a 4-3 vote.
According to the
ballot summary, the amendment gives individual consumers a constitutional
right to own or lease solar equipment, that governments have the right to
regulate solar and that “those who do not choose to install solar” are not required
to “subsidize” those who do.
“Amendment One is being
backed by the utility companies against the grassroots solar groups that were
hoping to get their language on the ballot,” Orlando said.
State Supreme Court Justice Barbara
Pariente wrote in her opinion that the measure is “masquerading as
a pro-solar initiative … actually seeks to constitutionalize the status quo.”
Orlando said he was not surprised by the polling numbers in
regard to utilities.
“I'm not surprised, because people like the idea of alternative
energy, and both of these proposals are being sold as expanding access to
alternative energy,” Orlando said.
According to the polling institute, all
surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument between June 10 and
June 15. The statewide Florida poll contacted 500 residents (including 49
likely voters) selected in proportions that reflect the distribution of
population statewide. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.57 percentage
points on responses from likely voters, and 4.5 percentage points on responses
from the broader survey base.