Fla. Lawmakers Consider Bill to Eliminate Tax Hike for Green Businesses

The man behind the food at Bella Bella is also cooking up a recipe for a lower bottom line.

Owner Mark Schwartz has covered the roof with solar panels. They crank out around 70 kilowatts of power a day, driving down his utility bill, but the panels are technically an improvement to the building and as a result, Mark's property taxes have climbed.

"That does not strike me as fair," he said. "We should definitely, if anything, get more of a break for doing it than be penalized for trying to do the right thing for the environment."

Up and down the state, Florida's green pioneers are discovering any energy savings here can be wiped out by higher taxes here... Not exactly the kind of incentive they argue government has an obligation to provide.

So Wednesday, a key Senate committee passed a bill that would block property tax hikes resulting from renewable energy improvements. Saint Petersburg republican Jack Latvala wrote the bill, which he views as a lot more than a tax break.

"There's a lot of small companies that do solar installations, put solar into houses and so forth, and to promote that means new jobs," he said.

Jobs in renewable energy, an industry many economists predict will drive a global boom.

Building demand in Florida could be key to giving America and Florida an edge.

"It's a good thing to do, you just...like I said, it's a long-term investment," said Mark.

An investment with a hidden cost that may be about to disappear.

Florida estimates local governments could lose more than $11 million in property tax revenue if the bill passes. However, supporters say that money could easily be made up when green companies enter the marketplace and start contributing to local economies.


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