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Democrats want state to help with rising propane costs

Lawmakers should dip into the state’s Rainy Day Fund to help Oklahoma residents struggling with higher propane costs, several Democratic lawmakers said.
Published: February 5, 2014

Several Democratic lawmakers want to tap Oklahoma’s Rainy Day Fund to help Oklahomans struggling to pay for propane amid a recent cold snap.

Rep. James Lockhart of Heavener said he intends to offer a resolution urging the state’s Republican leadership to provide some relief for more than 400,000 state residents who rely on propane for heat.

“It’s time for them to get some of their tax money back,” he said Wednesday in a press conference with several other Democratic legislators.

Lockhart said colder temperatures and higher propane prices are creating a hardship for many state residents, who already are strapped for cash after the holidays.

“We need to do something about this,” he said. “This is serious.”

Residential propane prices spiked to about $4 a gallon last month in the U.S. — up more than $1.50 over a year ago — according to the Energy Information Administration.

Gov. Mary Fallin last week ordered the state Department of Human Services to give priority to low-income residents who ask for help with their propane bills, but Lockhart said available money is limited.

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