Senator Jean Breaux joined Attorney General Greg Zoeller and state legislators at a press conference on Wednesday to discuss recently enacted legislation that will provide additional funding to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps to offset utility costs for low-income Hoosiers.
House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1141 allows the state to return funding that was lost when the state sales tax exemption for the program expired in 2009. The attorney general agreed to allocate $28.8 million from the multi-state settlement of foreclosure abuses to a new LIHEAP fund to be used in increments each year, which will offset the previous seven percent sales tax exemption. It is projected that approximately $4 million from the fund will be distributed to LIHEAP each year, providing additional funding for up to seven years. This measure addresses the immediate need of the most vulnerable Hoosiers who are still struggling in the rough economic climate, helping them on the road to recovery.
Senator Breaux noted the importance of directing funds to a much-needed service, especially for those hit hardest by the economic downturn.
“I’m grateful for the support from the Attorney General and other colleagues for this legislation that will help vulnerable Hoosiers get through difficult economic times,” Senator Breaux said. “By putting more money back into the program we can provide more assistance for Hoosier families.”
Also present at the press conference were other representatives from the Indiana General Assembly, Indiana Community Action Association, the Indiana Coalition for Human Services, the Indiana Catholic Conference, the Indiana Statewide Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives and the Indiana Energy Association.
Those interested in applying for low-income energy assistance through LIHEAP can find contact information for their local agency at the Indiana Housing and Development Authority website.