Contact: Joshua Fitzpatrick, (518) 455-3751
For Immediate Release:
May 28, 2008

Tedisco, Assembly Minority Push to Address Anticipated Home Heating Fuel Cost Crisis

In anticipation of what some are already predicting could be one of the costliest seasons for heating fuel this fall and winter, Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) and Members of the Assembly Minority Conference today called on the Legislature to take a pro-active approach by enacting several legislative initiatives designed to offset home heating fuel expenses.

"Energy analysts are predicting what many consumers already realize - the upcoming fall and winter seasons could be some of the costliest in recent memory for those who rely on heating fuel to keep their homes warm. Just as gas prices have continued escalating, the same holds true for home heating fuel. While nobody knows where fuel prices will be when the fall and winter months arrive, it is a safe bet that the recent trend in rising prices will continue. Many homeowners are moving now to try and lock in a price in the expectation that home heating fuel prices will keep growing," Tedisco stated.

"The time to address this situation is now - the Legislature cannot afford to wait and respond after homeowners get hit with energy bills that are excessive and overly burdensome. My Assembly Minority colleagues and I are especially concerned about the negative impact skyrocketing fuel costs could have on senior citizens and working families. This is why we are pushing now to bring attention to this issue," Tedisco said.

Tedisco and his colleagues were joined at their press conference by local retirees George and Barbara Van Schaick of Schenectady, New York. Mr. Van Schaick spoke to some of the difficulties posed by what are expected to be record-high home heating fuel costs.

"As a retired Schenectady County homeowner, my wife Barbara and I know full well the tremendous burden that home heating fuel costs impose on individuals who, like us, are living on fixed incomes. If the high price for gas we saw this spring translates into the high price for home heating fuel this fall and winter, it is going to require real sacrifices and painful choices for families. The price of heating oil has increased dramatically over the years. In August of 1988, the price of heating oil was roughly 63-cents per gallon - by March of 2002, the cost had risen to $1.15. However, by February, the price grew to approximately $3.45 per gallon. This drastic increase has placed a burden on my budget and dramatically impacted our lifestyle," said George Van Schaick.

Tedisco and the Assembly Minority Conference urged enactment of a five-bill legislative package to address the anticipated high cost of home heating fuel this fall and winter:

  • Senior Heat Tax Rebate (Assembly Bill A.5353-A, Assemblyman Tedisco): Creates a $200 "Heat Tax Rebate" to help seniors afford the costs of heating their homes;

  • Reducing Home Heating Costs (Proposal from Assemblywoman Scozzafava): Provides a Personal Income Tax credit for taxpayers whose home heating costs exceed 5 percent of their New York Adjusted Gross Income. The amount of the credit equals the total amount of heating costs that exceed 5 percent of their New York Adjusted Gross Income;

  • Residential Petroleum Tank Credit (Assembly Bill A.6270, Assemblyman Saladino): Provides a $500 tax credit for the cost of removing an old tank and installing a new one;

  • Energy-Efficient Improvements (Assembly Bill A.6603, Assemblyman McDonald): Provides a tax-credit of 25 percent, or up to $2,500, to offset the cost of energy-efficient improvements to a residence; and

  • Sales Tax Exemption for Alternative Fuels (Assembly Bill A.5465, Assemblyman Tedisco): Exempts the state sales tax on alternative fuels used for home heating purposes, including, but not limited to, wood pellets, corn and ethanol.

"We all know the price of gas and heating oil has risen to a point of what seems like no return," said Assemblyman Thomas O'Mara (R,C-Horseheads). "What we need to do now is focus on a solution that keeps our elderly and lower-income residents in mind, while exploring new ways to promote energy efficiency."

"The rising cost of energy in New York is real and it is affecting families across the state. According to the Public Service Commission, the number of New Yorkers that are unable to pay their energy bills rose 5 percent, compared to April 2007," said Assemblyman Marc Molinaro (R,I,C-Red Hook). "Heating oil prices usually go down in the summer, but due to the increase in crude oil prices, New Yorkers won't see any relief this summer. We must take action now to reduce the impact of astronomical home heating costs on our seniors and working families."

"Working families and seniors on fixed incomes are hit hardest by constantly rising energy costs. With summer's heat right around the corner, and home heating costs poised to surge this winter, now is a great time to make our homes more energy efficient," said Assemblyman Roy McDonald (R,C,I-Saratoga). "I am calling for a measure that would provide an income tax credit for homeowners that improves the energy efficiency of their homes. Making our homes more energy efficient is a good first step toward lowering skyrocketing energy prices and decreasing America's dependence on foreign oil."

"While summer may be approaching, it is never too early to start thinking about much-needed relief from home heating costs that are sure to be higher than ever this winter," said Assemblywoman Dierdre "Dede" Scozzafava (R-Gouverneur). "If nothing is done, our families and senior citizens are going to have to deal with the hard decision between heating their homes and taking care of other necessities in their lives."

"The rising cost of home heating fuel is proving to be one of the greatest challenges for residents living along the shores of Long Island to the streets of Buffalo," said Assemblyman Joseph S. Saladino (R-Massapequa). "We must use these last few weeks in Albany to map out a plan and provide real relief to those who are already struggling to stay afloat."

"New York State is being crushed under the weight of soaring energy prices. The cost of heating oil in the North Country is now $4.54 per gallon," said Assemblywoman Janet L. Duprey (R,I,C-Peru). "Measures need to be taken before the cold weather arrives to ensure our citizens can afford the heat they need to stay warm in the winter months."

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