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Bolinsky Votes for Low-Income Heating Assistance

Posted on August 30, 2022


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Bolinsky Votes for Low-Income Heating Assistance

Disappointed Plan Doesn’t help more

NEWTOWN- State Rep. Mitch Bolinsky (R-106) voted in favor of the new Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) allocation plan which anticipates $79 million in federal funds in the Appropriations Committee today.

His vote was cast with extreme disappointment, as Rep. Bolinsky expressed to the Department of Social Services during the public hearing regarding the plan, which is $60 million less than last year. This represents a 40% cut versus the prior year in this critical program. In fact, funding of this year’s program is even lower than its pre-pandemic LIHEAP levels.

Rep. Bolinsky along with the Republicans on the Appropriations, Energy & Technology and Human Services Committees, proposed an amendment to the LIHEAP plan which would restore funding to continue current LIHEAP benefit amounts at Fiscal Year 2022 levels and expand assistance to more residents by providing a $330 benefit to households making between 61%-120% of state median income. This reaches a family of four earning approximately $150,000 or less. And finally, address deliverability concerns and ensure an adequate number of vendors are able to participate in LIHEAP to meet the needs of CT families. That amendment was ruled out of order and opposed by a mostly party-line vote.

“Our amendment would have assisted thousands more deserving folks and have helped stabilize Connecticut families ‘living on the edge’. Being able to heat one’s home in the winter is not to be taken for granted at this time of historic cost-of-living challenges. I have spoken to many Newtown residents about the prices of home heating oil and right now there is fuel sticker shock with the average cash price for a gallon of Home heating oil $4.30 and much higher for those on payment-type programs,” said Rep. Bolinsky.

“Connecticut is currently overtaxing its residents and familiesMany can benefit from having some of that money back to pay their winter heating bills. Also, we need to stop ‘hiding’ new taxes. We should begin by rescinding Governor Lamont’s new, January 1, 2023, Truck Tax that will add 17-cents per mile to the distribution of heating oil, fuel and everything else that travels to market by truck.

Currently, the state’s Rainy Day fund has reached its statutory maximum of 15% of General Fund appropriations, leaving another alternative source of taxpayer relief.

Bolinsky summed it up, urging colleagues by saying: “Responsibly focusing on the real challenges of CT families and not our bank account, in the form of growing state surpluses, should be Job One when the need is real and critical. Heating one’s home is not a discretionary expense. Regardless of whether we shake the tree for federal resources at last year’s level or, we invest state surpluses in this program, is academic. We need to work together to plan for multiple eventualities. Being prepared is the right thing to do.”

 

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