State House, Providence – During today’s public hearing of the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission regarding the proposed consumer electric and gas rate increases, the Governor requested additional federal funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and announced a request by his administration of the General Assembly to repeal the 4% tax on gross earnings on electric utilities.
House Minority Leader Michael Chippendale issued the following statement in response to the Governor’s testimony:
“This is not a surprise to Republicans that the Governor would now try to address the underfunding of LIHEAP and the massive effect inflation, and our state and national energy policy is having on the users of this critical resource.
During the FY23 budget debate in June, House Republicans offered amendments that directed $7,600,000 in the state’s allotment of fiscal recovery funds to provide for home energy assistance, and a repeal of the 4% tax on electric utilities.
In response to our efforts to properly fund LIHEAP, House Majority Whip Katherine Kazarian replied on the House Floor:
‘I rise in strong opposition to this amendment. Last year we passed the Act on Climate. It is important for us to have targeted assistance for non-fossil energy sources. There is also plenty of funding in this budget for LIHEAP and for people who are struggling to pay their energy bills.’
All of our amendments to deal with the high cost of energy failed along partisan party lines. Instead of working together for the benefit of our residents, we now must go back to the federal trough despite the fact that we had the federal resources in June. This type of governance is irresponsible.
Once again, Rhode Island’s Democratic Leadership is a few months late and many dollars short when it comes to taking care of our most vulnerable.”
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