News Detail

Fuel assistance slashed in Obama budget

Release Date: May 07, 2013
WCSH6 News Story - MaineHousing Director Dale McCormick interviewed

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- President Obama's budget proposal is calling for Maine's fuel assistance funding to be slashed by nearly 50 percent, sending shock waves through the state's community programs that administer the funds.

The proposal calls for sending the LIHEAP program back to pre-2009 levels, when the funding was doubled. White House officials say the funding was increased back then because oil prices were spiking and now that they've come down fuel assistance funding should too.

All of the federal funds come to Maine through Dale McCormick's office at the Maine State Housing Authority. She says the President's reasoning for the cut doesn't pass the straight face test. She acknowledges oil price have come down, but she says with the current state average of $3.36 a gallon, its fast approaching the mark that set off the panic a few years ago.

"This is cutting the deficit by asking low income people to contribute to cutting the deficit when it was enlarged by years of tax cuts for rich people", she said.

Programs across the state are holding out hope that congress can step in and inject more funding into LIHEAP. All four members of Maine's Congressional Delegation oppose the cuts.

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