Yesterday, Congressman Bill Owens reintroduced the Home Energy Affordability Tax Relief (HEATR) Act, a bill that would provide a refundable tax credit to Upstate New Yorkers of up to $500 per household for heating costs that exceed $1,500 annually. For homeowners and renters with home heating expenses below $1,500, the credit would cover one-third of their total heating costs.
"As New Yorkers work their way out of these tough times, this bill will provide relief from anticipated high heating costs for families hit hardest by the recession," said Owens. "In the North Country, where home heating costs are a constant concern, this legislation helps families make ends meet."
H.R. 982 is geared toward middle-class families of Upstate New York and provides one-third of the total cost of home heating expenses for an individual or family. To qualify for the tax credit, individuals and couples must earn annually no more than $50,000 or $100,000 respectively. Owens introduced similar legislation last year, which was a reintroduction of a bill authored by former Rep. John McHugh in the 110th Congress.
"Although the federal government provides help with heating bills to low income families through the LIHEAP program, many middle class families that do not qualify for federal assistance find it difficult to get by in the winter due to the high and often unpredictable cost of heating a home," Owens added. "On top of this, the LIHEAP program is faced with the prospect of a nearly $2.5 billion cut in the President's fiscal year 2012 budget over 2009 levels.
"Upstate New Yorkers remain concerned about the wide fluctuation in home heating prices as energy companies continue to turn enormous profits. I believe this legislation will begin to make up for this."