I am opposed to government corporate welfare programs, where the government picks winners and losers by giving financial grants and tax breaks to certain politically connected businesses. This is blatantly unfair to the remaining businesses and creates an uneven playing field. You can also label me a man-made climate change skeptic, to put it mildly.
There are some saying that Amendment 4 on the August 30th ballot is just another corporate welfare scheme, giving a tax break to certain well connected hand-picked businesses and industries and is a subsidy to the solar industry. I am opposed to any subsidies from the government, subsidies only distort prices and resource allocation. Politicians picking certain industries is really arrogant on their part, businesses need flexibility to meet customer needs and wants, subsidizing solar panels could waste capital when there may be a much more affordable and efficient alternative energy source in the future. What energy source serves society best today may not be the best in the future.
Here is the ballot summary for Amendment 4:
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 January 1, 2018, and expires on December 31, 2037.
From the Amendment 4 ballot summary, we see that this so-called tax break is for any and all properties, and any and all tangible property. Amendment 4 has been referred by some as a solar subsidy, this is clearly not the case. For Amendment 4 to be classified a subsidy, it would require some kind of wealth transfer, such as the financial grants that the governor’s “quick action closing fund” gives to certain hand-picked companies. Amendment 4 does not create a wealth transfer; thus it is false to call it a subsidy. Also, Amendment 4 does not specify only solar, but any renewable energy source.
I have always spoken out against corporate welfare programs and unfortunately I have seen real corporate welfare programs coming from the Florida legislature. Amendment 4 is not corporate welfare!
What Amendment 4 will do is open up the market and increase competition with the big electric companies who do get special tax breaks from the government. The government has granted the big electric companies a monopoly status and consumers have no choice. Amendment 4 will empower consumers and give them more choices of how they provide power. Amendment 4 will increase competition and choices; you can’t get any more “free market” than that.
John Hallman is an active, longtime voice in all levels of Florida politics and is a veteran of advocating issues of liberty in the Florida legislature. John has served as the State Director for FreedomWorks and while in Tallahassee, John has represented such groups as Liberty First Network, Florida Taxpayers Union, Cut Property Taxes Now, The Second Amendment Coalition of Florida and The Florida Campaign for Liberty.