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Clinton stresses need to provide relief to families

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has announced that she is introducing new legislation to address the soaring cost of home heating oil. Speaking yesterday in New York's North Country, Clinton underscored the need to provide real relief to New York families feeling the strain of rising prices.

"New York needs solutions when it comes to rising home heating oil prices - and that's exactly what I'm working to provide," Clinton said. "Without additional assistance, too many families will be facing impossible choices between paying their heating bills and buying food, medicine or other necessities."

Clinton's legislative package includes direct financial assistance for low-income and middle-class families, as well as increased funding for efforts to reduce energy costs for low-income families by making their homes more energy efficient. These measures include:

The HEATR Act - Clinton will introduce a Senate companion to Congressman John M. McHugh's (R-NY) HEATR Act. This legislation would provide a $500 refundable tax credit for individuals and families who spend more than $1,500 on home heating costs during the coming winter season; those who spend below $1,500 would receive a credit equal to one third of their heating costs. The HEATR Act would apply to both homeowners and renters, providing relief for consumers across the board. Individual tax filers making under $50,000 would be eligible for the credit as well as joint filers making under $100,000; only one credit would be allowed per housing unit. Above those income levels, the credit would phase out at $60,000 and $110,000 respectively. Eligible heating fuels include, but are not limited to, electricity, natural gas, propane, heating oil, kerosene, wood, and wood pellets.

Full Funding for the LIHEAP Program - Clinton is a cosponsor of legislation to increase Fiscal Year 2008 Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) levels by $2.53 billion, raising the total LIHEAP funding to $5.1 billion, the fully authorized level for FY08. This would bring $250 million in additional funding to help low-income families in New York.

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