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News From

State Senator

Martin M. Looney

President Pro Tempore

Representing New Haven, Hamden & North Haven

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Contact: Adam Joseph

August 2, 2011

Looney: Congress Can’t Turn Its Back on Energy Assistance for Connecticut Families

Senate Majority Leader says if cuts to federal LIHEAP program are approved, thousands of Connecticut families will suffer

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Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney (D-New Haven / Hamden) joined state elected leaders, officials with Operation Fuel and the Connecticut Association for Community Action (CAFCA) at a news conference to urge Congress to protect the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

In the Obama Administration’s FY 12 budget proposal, the LIHEAP program is cut by 50-percent. If enacted, the reduction would deny more than 3 million households—or almost 9 million people assistance heating and cooling their home.

In 2011, Connecticut received a little over $98 million in basic LIHEAP funding. Under the President’s 2012 proposed budget, Connecticut will receive about $41 million in funding, which is a loss of over $57 million.

LIHEAP provided more than 113,000 low-income households in Connecticut with energy assistance in 2010. Nearly a third of those who received help were elderly, while 26-percent were disabled, and 24 percent had children under the age of five. The average household assistance benefit in Connecticut was $863 in 2010. (Eligible families must have incomes below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. An example: A family of four making $33,000 or less is eligible for LIHEAP benefits).

“The LIHEAP reduction couldn’t come at a worse time,” said Senator Looney. “Many families are struggling to make ends meet and experts predict that the cost of home heating oil this winter could rise by more than 5-percent. Protecting tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and then slashing this program to pay for them is wrong and I urge Congress and the President to reconsider.”

According to the Energy Information Administration, home heating oil is expected to increase 7.2 percent to $4.04 a gallon this coming winter.


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