How should conservatives vote on Amendment 1? That’s a question voters across Florida are asking and one that many in the media have asked me over the last few weeks.
The answer is: “NO”!
For centuries, American conservatism has been guided by the principles of small government and limited regulation. Unnecessary government regulations can harm economic progress and infringe upon our freedom and personal liberty. The utility playbook that I have been seeing is fixated on cutting off competition and limiting consumer choice.
Solar energy is the only competition that most utilities have ever faced. As conservatives, we must stand up in support of free market competition and let technology grow and develop. I want to see an energy independent America – with power produced closer to those who use it. Amendment 1 will stifle this competition in Florida.
One term you may be hearing a lot of is “net metering.” Net metering is the key policy for creating consumer choice in energy. It allows consumers to be fairly credited for the energy they send back to their neighbors and the grid. Amendment 1 would pave the way for utilities to attack Florida net metering. In study after study, researchers found that net metering policies create more rooftop solar, which in turn puts downward pressure on everyone’s electric rates. Solar energy not only allows us to produce our own power, it saves everyone money.
As voters, we can only make decisions based on the information presented to us by advocates and the media. The utilities in Florida have taken advantage of the monopoly powers granted by the state and chosen to run a campaign of lies and deception. Instead of looking out for the best interest of the public, the companies have been caught trying to mislead Floridians into thinking Amendment 1 would help solar grow.
The admitted actions of the James Madison Institute to deceive Floridians prove that the establishment cannot be trusted and will stop at nothing to protect its power.
The American people must stand up and be heard. I’m asking every conservative in Florida to vote this Tuesday to protect our core values of freedom, independence, and competition. Vote NO on Amendment 1.
Barry Goldwater. Jr. is a retired member of Congress and Chairman of TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed)