Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
Governor Fletcher Announces Additional $2.5 Million for Heating Assistance

Press Release Date:  Thursday, January 26, 2006  
Contact Information:  Brett Hall
Jodi Whitaker
Troy Body

Michael Goins

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher announced today that Kentucky is receiving an emergency appropriation increase of $2.5 million in Federal Funds for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.

“This is great news for Kentucky families struggling to pay heating bills this winter,” Governor Fletcher said. “My administration will continue to seek out funding to make sure no one in our commonwealth has to choose between family and heating their home.”

State Budget Director Brad Cowgill approved the appropriation increase earlier this week.  Cabinet for Health and Families Services made the request to the State Budget Director to allow them to assist more eligible families in need of financial relief on their heating bills due to the additional costs caused by energy costs.

The additional $2.5 million will be used to provide direct heating and fuel bill assistance to low-income households to meet costs associated with their energy bills beginning this month.  The money can also be used for weatherization of homes to further reduce heating bill costs.

In addition, Senator Alice Forgy Kerr (R-Lexington) introduced a Senate committee substitute to House Bill 283 which doubled the amount of state funds for LIHEAP to $10 million.  The additional monies will come from the Natural Gas Severance Tax Receipts and not the Budget Reserve Trust Fund or the so-called “Rainy Day Fund” as was stipulated in HB 283. The legislation is expected to pass the full Senate tomorrow.

Kerr stated, “It is important that we help our most vulnerable citizens in this time of high heating costs and cold weather. It is also important that we protect the Rainy Day Fund to ensure the fiscal health of the state. The Senate committee substitute to HB 283 accomplishes both these goals.”

The emergency appropriation, combined with the funds provided by HB 283, bring the state’s total LIHEAP appropriation for FY 2005-06 to more than $36 million.