LePage warned that Maine's LIHEAP funding from the federal government could be cut in half, from $54 million for this year to about $26 million. He noted that the reduction could come as the cost of heating fuel rises above last year's level.
and for other New England States:
Celeste Lovett, New Hampshire's fuel assistance program manager, agreed. Federal figures show New Hampshire's LIHEAP funding could be cut from $36 million to $15 million. "It's really too soon to tell," Lovett said. "What we've done in New Hampshire is go forward with taking applications."
In Connecticut, the allocation would drop from $98 million to $41 million, Massachusetts from $175 million to $81 million, and Rhode Island from $34 million to $15.4 million.
The Obama administration, questioned about the proposed funding cut, acknowledged that the new LIHEAP figure was based on the expectation that fuel prices would be lower this winter. But in northern New England, they're expected to be in the $4-per-gallon range.
The prices aren't lower in northern New England, as I learned in looking into my own potential fuel costs, here in Northern NH. I have to heat with kerosene, and kerosene costs about $4.25 per gallon already.
Every year, cuts to LIHEAP are threatened, and so far, they haven't come to pass. The fact that these threats are made nearly every year is unspeakably cruel to those folks who are in desperate need of assistance. If these cuts do come to pass, they will hurt the unemployed, the low wage workers, and the low income, especially the elderly.
cross-posted at MainSt/workingamerica.org