The Florida Chamber of Commerce is taking exception with the conclusion of a panel of state economists and other experts who finalized a financial impact statement on a proposed constitutional amendment that would deregulate the electric industry in Florida.
The state’s Financial Impact Estimating Conference (FIEC) did not determine the impact deregulation would have on Florida’s communities and on the state.
The panel’s conclusion is that the effects of the amendment on the price Floridians pay for electricity under deregulation are unknown. The panel also said it was not known how deregulation would impact taxes and fees collected by state and local governments on electric generation.
“The Florida Chamber of Commerce disagrees with the FIEC’s conclusions, particularly in light of the empirical evidence presented by expert economists showing the likelihood of significant increased costs,” said Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson.
Wilson points to studies done by various groups that show the amendment would have a damaging impact on state and local government.
“Studies by Charles River Associates and others shows that the proposed changes to Florida’s electricity market would have the very damaging financial impact on state and local governments of more than $1.2 billion per year in increased costs and reduced revenues,” Wilson added. “That means less funding for vital local services, including fire departments and first responders, and higher taxes for consumers and small businesses.”
The panel insisted that because of the unknown’s associated with deregulation, it would be up to the Legislature and the courts to decide.
Attorney General Ashley Moody has already intervened in the case. She challenged the language saying it is unclear or deceptive.
“We cannot secure Florida’s future with regulatory policies that will make our state less competitive and electricity more expensive,” Wilson said. “Voters deserve to know the facts – this price-hiking electricity related amendment is a drastic and costly proposal that will drive up costs on Florida’s families, consumers and local businesses.”