In an attempt to navigate the state through a budget crunch at the end of the fiscal year, Gov. Paterson might delay $500 million in state tax returns. The state had set aside $1.75 billion to pay tax returns, but Paterson is hoping to use half a billion of that money to ease cash flow problems—meaning some taxpayers might receive their checks weeks or months late.
According to WCBS, opponents have blasted the plan to delay tax returns as a bad idea at a bad time. "Those [checks] are economic incentives that go into the mailboxes throughout New York State, and that's how you create jobs," said Republican Assemblyman Greg Ball. Paterson's proposal echoes moves made in seven other states including California and Maryland that have "delayed refunds or issued IOUs," and it mirrors his decision to withhold $750 million in payments to school districts and local governments during the third quarter. That money has since been paid.
As of now, state tax refunds are still be processed and sent out, according to the Daily Mail. If Paterson does delay the refunds, it isn't expected to impact those who have already filed. "The individuals to be affected (if enacted) would be those filing in early-to-mid-March," said state budget division spokesman Matthew Anderson, who noted that the delays would be short term with taxpayers likely receiving their refunds in April. Anderson added that in order to keep the state fiscally sound, Paterson would need to make "difficult choices" because "[t]here are no good options."