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Following energy issues in the state of Connecticut and beyond.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mushinsky Speaks In Support Of Two Energy Bills

State Representative Mary Mushinsky, D-Wallingford, testified at a legislative hearing Monday on a pair of bills before the General Assembly's Energy and Technology Committee.

One of the bills, S.B. 450, would exempt buyers of vehicles like electric and fuel cell cars from having to pay Connecticut's sales tax on those purchases through 2014. The proposed legislation would create a fund of up to $10 million through a gross receipts tax on petroleum that would be used to help home and business owners pay for more efficient oil heating burners and other types of equipment.

Another piece of legislation, S.B. 451, would add boilers to the list of heating devices that would be eligible for a state-backed loan program. The purpose of the program is to help make purchase of more efficient equipment more affordable.

"I would like these bills to be combined because many of my constituents live in old housing stock, heated by oil," said Mushinsky, who is show in the photo above. "Without an energy audit followed by furnace replacement and plenty of insulation, they face impossibly high energy bills. People who never applied for heating assistance in their lives applied this year and in 2011 because their small monthly incomes can not keep up."

Update: Gene Guilford, executive director of the Cromwell-based Independent Connecticut Petroleum Associationreacted to Mushinsky's comment late Monday. Guilford tweeted that while the two bills are "a nice idea ...there is no excess gross receipts tax money."

"(The) Budget director slammed the door on that one," Guilford said, in an apparent reference to the Malloy administration's budget director Ben Barnes.

Guilford said that "given the state's financial issues and deficit," there is no other place for the money to fund the energy efficiency efforts proposed in the two bills to come from.

"We've scoured Washington for grants," he said.

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