HunterLIHEAPTownHall1“Letting thousands of families lose cooling assistance isn’t governing. That’s abandonment.”

-    State Senator Mattie Hunter, Majority Caucus Whip.

Over 150 concerned residents packed Antioch Missionary Baptist Church last night to oppose Governor Rauner’s suspension of state contributions to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps seniors and low-income families afford heating and cooling.

State Senators Mattie Hunter and Jacqueline Y. Collins joined Representative Esther Golar, Alderman Toni Foulkes and the Englewood Coalition Ad-Hoc Group to address the need of energy assistance for the state’s most vulnerable residents.

“Illinois isn’t a state that balances its budget on the backs of seniors. Letting thousands of families lose cooling assistance isn’t governing. That’s abandonment,” said Hunter, Majority Caucus Whip.

On July 1, the governor will suspend the state’s supplemental contributions to LIHEAP. Utility payers fund the program with a $0.48 surcharge on their energy bills. Under the governor’s plan, ratepayers will continue to contribute to a program that will no longer exist.

A larger, looming problem is that there is no way to pay for LIHEAP without an approved budget. Illinois residents will lose cooling assistance until federal funds in October trickle into the state’s coffers.

Representatives from the Attorney General’s office, Public Utilities Bureau, Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County, AARP, Citizens Utility Board and the Shriver Center for Poverty Law joined lawmakers in explaining the impact of state cuts.

Category: News

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