A pending bill in the Connecticut Legislature has heating oil and propane distributors fired up.
"I am outraged by the bill," said Stephen Rosentel, president of Leahy's Fuels in Danbury. "I will be testifying against the bill before the Commerce Committee tomorrow. This state just doesn't get it."
Rosentel will tell the state legislature, "Our fuel oil customers this past winter were paying the highest cost EVER for this product and now you want to make it more costly! The heaviest of this burden will fall unfortunately on the lowest income taxpayers who often don’t have the resources to benefit from recommended efficiency upgrades."
Lawmakers are considering a bill that would tax home heating oil and propane as part of a larger effort to encourage people to invest in more energy efficient heating sources.
Oil and propane distributors are expected to turn out in droves at the State Capitol Tuesday, March 19, when the General Assembly’s Commerce Committee holds a public hearing on the proposal, House Bill 6650: An Act Concerning Energy Efficiency Programs. The hearing will be held at 11 a.m. in Room 1D at the State Capitol Building in Hartford.
“Our industry is going to show up in force tomorrow and oppose this,” Naugatuck resident Chris Herb, vice president of the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association, said. “I hope that once we shine the light back in their eyes, they realize this is just an ill-conceived idea.”
According to the General Assembly’s website, the bill is expected to “establish a heating fuel excise tax to provide funding for the implementing of cost-effective energy conservation programs” and to “require any furnaces or boilers to be Energy Star compliant in order to qualify for the residential heating equipment financing program.”
Herb, whose association represents 600 home heating distributors, said the proposed bill will hurt taxpayers.
“It is a surprise to me that with the state’s economy being as poor as it is — people are struggling to find jobs and many who have jobs are underemployed — and the legislature has time to sit around and think up a brand new tax on heating oil and propane,” he told Patch. “It just doesn’t make sense…”
No legislators or senators have signed on in support of the bill at this point. The Commerce Committee has introduced it, but it arose from Gov. Dannel Malloy.
The bill comes on the heels of Gov. Dannel Malloy's recently-released, 195-page “Comprehensive Energy Strategy” for Connecticut. Much of it centers on encouraging people and businesses to switch from oil to natural gas.
See a press release from the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association attached as a PDF. See Stephen Rosentel's testimony attached as a PDF.