|Higgins Offers Plan to Help Americans Pay Energy Bills; Legislation Would Stop Tax Breaks for Oil and Gas Companies and Give Breaks to Hard-Working Americans|
|December 6, 2005|
Releases Report on the Impact of Rising Home Heating Costs on Families in NY’s 27th District
Washington, DC—Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27), joined by House Democrats, introduced the Energy Consumer Relief Act of 2005, new legislation to help hard-working American families pay their skyrocketing energy bills. Higgins also released a report he requested from his House Government Reform Committee entitled, The Impact of Rising Home Heating Costs on Families in NY’s 27th District.
Western New York families are struggling this season to pay their home heating bills. According to yesterday’s Buffalo News, heating costs are expected to rise by an average of about 31 percent this winter in Western New York. The legislation, the Energy Consumer Relief Act of 2005, will roll back $8 billion in tax subsidies to oil and gas companies, subsidies oil executives testified they do not need, to help Americans pay their energy bills by sending the funding to LIHEAP and tax breaks for small businesses and farms.”
“Too many Western New Yorkers are facing the exorbitant cost of heating their homes this winter,” said Higgins. “While the cold winds and snow come off Lake Erie and settle across my district, oil companies are posting record high profits. Despite record profits by the oil and gas companies, the majority in Congress saw fit to pass an energy bill that includes billions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies for them. So with billions going to these companies, where does that leave my constituents? Increased heating costs will cost Western New York families over $65 million at an average of $275 per family this year. If it turns out to be an especially cold winter, those numbers will double. I hear from dairy, corn and grape farmers in Westfield and Fredonia that they need help and don’t know how they will survive this winter. At a Small Business fair I held in Jamestown, energy costs were the number one concern to the men and women of my district fighting to improve our local economy.”
Higgins continued, “43,000 families in my district that are eligible for federal heating assistance will not receive it. Because the Republicans have repeatedly refused to increase funding for the Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program, these 43,000 families will have to choose between food, medical care and heat. That’s why I’m proud to introduce the Energy Consumer Relief Act of 2005. Western New Yorkers need to know that I hear them; I know they are struggling, I recognize the problem and I am fighting to fix it.”