Raia: Don’t Leave Families Out In the Cold!

Assemblyman introduces measures to help offset home heating bills
May 29, 2008

In anticipation of rising heating fuel costs during the cold winter months, Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R,I,C,WF-East Northport) today introduced a series of measures that would ease the financial burden associated with skyrocketing heating bills.

“The approaching season could be one of the costliest in recent memory in terms of heating our homes; with that in mind, we need to take a proactive approach in dealing with the detrimental effects that rising fuel costs will have on residents in Long Island. As it is, we are already struggling under the weight of rising gasoline prices and the impact that it is having on both the tourism and trucking industries,” said Raia. “With families in New York already hurting because of astronomical fuel prices, and rather than wait for the crisis to arise, we should take steps now to ease any adverse effects this may have on families down the road. We cannot afford to allow residents and businesses to default on their bills and have their heat turned off.”

According to the Public Service Commission, the number of New Yorkers who have not been able to pay their energy bills rose 5 percent since April 2007. Additionally, the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) claims that the price of home heating oil has increased nearly 60% since April 2008.

Below is a list of the bills that Assemblyman Raia is supporting in his effort to curb rising home heating costs:

  • Senior Heat Tax Rebate: Creates a $200 "Heat Tax Rebate" to help seniors afford the cost of heating their homes.
  • Reducing Home Heating Costs: 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: Provides a $500 tax credit for the cost of removing an old tank and installing a new one.
  • Energy-Efficient Improvements: Provides a tax credit of 25 percent, or up to $2,500, to offset the cost of energy-efficient improvements to a residence.
  • Sales Tax Exemption for Alternative Fuels: Exempts the state sales tax on alternative fuels used for home heating purposes, including, but not limited to, wood pellets, corn and ethanol.

“Seniors living on fixed incomes and working families will be hardest hit by rising fuel costs. The approaching winter season will be the costliest on record and I fear that not doing anything now will leave many out in the cold,” said Raia. “Since this is an issue that affects all residents across the state - not just ‘Long Island’ communities - I urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to heed the calls for help and take action now.”