Press release issued last night by Jill Fitzgerald, the GOP candidate in the 77th House District, where she is running against Democrat Chris Wright:
With many middle class Bristol families struggling financially because of soaring electricity, heating oil and gasoline prices, 77th District Republican candidate Jill Fitzgerald today urged state legislators to approve several energy relief proposals that were unveiled at a capitol news conference Tuesday.
The Connecticut General Assembly will meet in special session Friday to act on measures to address high heating oil costs. The initiatives announced Tuesday by Republican legislators are in addition to proposals developed by Governor Rell and other lawmakers that are expected to be considered during the special session.
The GOP proposals would use an additional $9 million from the state surplus to increase the Operation Fuel account to $15 million to help middle class families earning up to $94,000 a year and add $5 million to the Energy Conservation and Load Management Fund.
“Many middle-income families in Bristol who already are struggling with record-high gasoline prices and rising electricity costs will be facing real financial hardship because of sharp increases in the cost of home heating oil, said Fitzgerald who attended the news conference on Tuesday. “I’m hoping aid for the neediest among us as well as for middle income families will be approved on Friday.”
"The proposals that were unveiled by House Republican Leader Larry Cafero and Senate Republican leader John McKinney at Tuesday’s news conference were offered in a bipartisan spirit and are intended to make the heating cost proposals that will be considered Friday more comprehensive and compassionate,” Fitzgerald said. "Many middle class families whose incomes make them ineligible for current state and federal heating assistance programs will be hard-pressed to find the extra money needed to keep their families warm this winter without some help from the state.”
‘One of the Republican proposals would give small businesses some badly-needed tax relief this winter as well,” Fitzgerald said. “Small businesses, which provide most of the jobs in the Greater Bristol area and elsewhere in the state, also are having trouble staying afloat in today’s economy. Substantially higher energy prices are increasing the cost of doing business in Connecticut and forcing consumers to cut back on their spending. Small business owners are increasingly being forced to make some difficult choices in order to survive, including layoffs and hiring freezes. The Republican proposal to increase the electricity sales tax exemption for businesses would give them badly-needed breathing room and help preserve jobs.”
“Almost everyone is hurting because of high energy costs,” Fitzgerald said. “Bristol residents and families throughout the state will be best served if the state legislature acts in a bipartisan manner and votes on all of the proposals that will be offered during the special session based on their merits – not on who proposes them.”
The Republican initiatives would:
• Expand Operation Fuel to provide $15 million in home heating assistance for working and middle-class families. The measure would allow a family of four earning up to $94,000 a year to qualify for assistance under the program.
• Provide $3 million to help struggling families pay their electric bills.
• Increase the electricity sales tax exemption for small businesses from $150 to $500 per month.
• Add $5 million to the Energy Conservation and Load Management Fund, which rewards conservation efforts, to help make small businesses and homes more energy efficient.
• Cap the wholesale price of gasoline subject to the state’s Gross Receipts Tax at $3.42 a gallon to prevent built-in increases in the tax when the price of gasoline goes up.
“If these proposals are not adopted during Friday’s special session, I will make enacting them one of my top priorities for the 2009 legislative session if the people of the 77th District elect me to be their voice at the State Capitol in Hartford,” Fitzgerald said.
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