Thanks you for your coverage of the Juneteenth Rally (June 19) and the issues they addressed at the events recently held on the West Side and downtown. I am writing to you regarding a piece of legislation mentioned that was discussed at one of the rally events. The issue of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) was discussed and a bill I have been working on that would provide additional funding for the cash-strapped program.

The legislation did pass this past spring, and we were successful in securing an additional $5.2 million in state funding for the LIHEAP program. The funding was realized by abating the gas revenue tax from the gas bills of people who receive LIHEAP funds to pay their heating bills. Those abated tax dollars (estimated to be roughly $5.2 million), would then be used as a supplement of the federal dollars the LIHEAP program currently receives. The abated tax dollars follows the same rationale of exempting taxes from purchases made with a LINK Card ?” why pay taxes on a government-subsidized program?

We estimate an additional 10,400 families will be helped with these additional dollars from LIHEAP. The bill number was changed in the final days of the spring session to accommodate several amendments to the legislation. The new bill, number SB2030, I think a lot of people were unaware of. Thank you for your attention to this very important piece of legislation. I feel very good about what we accomplished in Springfield regarding LIHEAP because of the impact it will have on the large number of families who are now struggling to heat their homes at a time of record high energy prices in Illinois and across the country.

Marlow H. Colvin
State Representative (33rd)