Griffo: Paterson considering withholding state refund checks

By WKTV News

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKTV) - Lawmakers say the governor wants to withhold your state refund. State Senator Joseph Griffo says the governor is considering holding them back because the 2010 budget may not be done on time.

Griffo says he believes the governor has the power to do so.

However, the state senator says he thinks enough people in the legislature will challenge the governor if he in fact decides to hold back refunds.

"He is not going to allow people to withhold and take more time in paying what they owe the state, so he has to be consistent here. He can't hold refunds back and not give people extensions because people who are struggling would like more time to pay their taxes but they won't be given that opportunity," Griffo said.

A member of the Governor's budget staff says withholding refunds is just one of many proposal to increase cash flow in the month of March. More than $293 million in refunds has already been sent out, said a Governor's aide.

The state currently limits the amount of tax refunds it pays in the first three months of the year to $1.75 billion. Paterson is considering lowering that threshold to $1.25 billion because the state must roll $1.4 billion into next year's budget to close a current year budget gap.

The state has until June to pay the refunds before they start accruing interest.

The governor is expected to make a decision in the next few weeks.

What's On