President Obama’s Proposed Budget Threatens Future of LIHEAP 

A lot of folks in our part of the nation are getting heated up over what the President plans to do to home heating help.About 65-thousand Mainers rely on Maine’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.President Obama’s proposed budget threatens its future.His plan would slice nearly the five billion dollar program in half.The state of Maine receives 56 million dollars in LIHEAP funds. If the President has his way, it would be cut to 27 million.State lawmakers say each Maine household receiving LIHEAP money this winter will get about 830 dollars in help.Representative Mike Michaud says the average household income from those getting aid is around 13-thousand dollars.He says if the President gets his way, it will be devastating for Maine.”People have a hard enough time as it is to make ends meet and I don’t think we should be scaring them,” he said.Senator Olympia Snowe says the proposal would have devastating consequences.In a statement, Senator Susan Collins says there are other areas in the budget that can be cut that would quote “not result in such harmful consequences for our most vulnerable families and senior citizens.”Shawn Yardley, Health and Community Services Director for the city of Bangor, says as the price of oil continues to rise so do the number of people coming to his office for assistance.”We already have seen for all kinds of assistance more people in the first six months of this fiscal year we started July first last year than we saw all of last year.”Yardley believes the proposal will freeze the low income population in the state leaving people without a place to call home.The heating aid cuts are a part of the President’s budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins next fall.