This blog was written by Sara Barczak, former Regional Advocacy Director with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.Guest Blog | April 24, 2013
Did you know that, according to a recent poll by the Florida AARP of its members (see page 3), a majority of seniors agreed that raising electric rates for new nuclear reactor proposals that may never be completed is bad business? Seniors are clearly getting the worst end of this deal, with no guarantees that they will reap any benefits from their forced investments. This is important for Florida state lawmakers to acknowledge as they continue to debate the controversial “nuclear cost recovery” tax during the remaining weeks of the legislative session.
According to the poll results, when asked to consider reasons for supporting and opposing the law, most Floridians age 50 and older oppose it, with 44 percent saying they strongly oppose it and just 5 percent indicating strong support for the law. This represents a clear 8 to 1 margin.
Remarkably, political party affiliation did not influence opposition to the anti-consumer law, with strong opposition expressed by 46% of Democrats, 43% of Republicans, and 41% of Independents. When given reasons to support the law, seniors’ attitudes showed little change. However, more than half of the respondents opposed the law “a lot more” after being given reasons to oppose. Overall, 44% of respondents strongly oppose this unfair practice. Clearly, those seniors polled understand the anti-consumer effects of this legislation, making it a top legislative priority for them to have addressed in 2013.
The fate of Florida’s “nuclear tax” may soon be decided depending on what the State Legislature does — discussions have been underway and votes could even happen on a Senate bill that aims to correct some of the law’s many problems. As we’ve shared previously, AARP filed a Friend of the Court brief in support of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s challenge of this statute before Florida’s Supreme Court. Though we are still awaiting a decision from our case presented in October 2012, Florida’s voters are awaiting some movement from their state lawmakers to clearly show that they are representing and protecting Florida’s citizens, not just looking out for the interests of the big power companies. Now’s the time to let them know what you think.