DEEP's energy strategy would tax home heating oil - WFSB 3 Connecticut

DEEP's energy strategy would tax home heating oil

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The state is looking to tax home heating oil, but people aren't happy about it. (WFSB) The state is looking to tax home heating oil, but people aren't happy about it. (WFSB)

Many complain about how much gets taxed in the state of Connecticut.

Officials from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection are proposing a tax on home heating oil, and that will affect nearly half of the home in the state.

On Tuesday night, DEEP officials laid out their energy strategy in Torrington, which includes raising taxes on home heating oil.

It’s a necessity that 44 percent of Connecticut homeowners rely on when it gets cold.

Shannon Higley is on a budget.

“You got your mortgage, car payments, oil,” Higley, of Torrington, said.

She works 12 hour days at a medical equipment company in Torrington, and making ends meet is not always easy.

“It’s tight. The prices are going up and there’s nothing coming in,” Higley said.

The state says the tax is similar to what’s currently on electric and natural gas bills.

DEEP’s bureau chief for Energy Policy says the money raised from the proposed tax will go towards cost-saving programs which, right now, aren’t being funded at all.

“We agree that what we’re trying to say is if you’re using home heating oil, we want to make sure customers are using it as efficiently as possible, so what we’re seeing across our efficiency programs, when you invest in energy efficiency measures, that’s just money that goes right back into your pockets,” said Tracy Babbidge, DEEP bureau chief for Energy Policy.

State Senator Joe Markley said he doesn’t buy that.

“Like so many things in Connecticut, in the desperate fiscal climate, these funds are liable to be swept. The next thing we know is it goes into the general fund and doesn’t go to its purpose at all,” Markley said.

Right now, since DEEP’s proposal is so fresh, there are no firm tax numbers attached to it.

In order for it to be voted on, Markley says it will eventually need an official percentage. But he’s afraid, if passed, it will open the floodgates in the years to come.

“If we start putting it on home heating oil, it’ll be the first charge and others will follow. We see it with every tax in Connecticut,” Markley said.

Higley, who already spends $800 filling a tank twice a year, is hoping she won’t be forced to make more tough decisions when it comes to her personal budget.

“You got to do what you got to because you need it. So somewhere else, something is going to get cut,” Higley said.

The state says at the end of the day its pushing consumers to be efficient. For example, they suggested air-sourced heat pumps, but say it all depends on what works for the home you have.

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