That Tax Refund Check May Not Be In The Mail

Legislative column from Assembly Republican Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua)
February 16, 2010

According to the Internal Revenue Service’s official website, right around this time in 2009, it had already received approximately 56 million individual tax returns, which constituted a moderate increase over the previous year. Many media outlets are already reporting that, largely due to the prolonged recession, more people than ever will be filing, or have filed, their taxes early in the hopes of getting a refund sooner and avoiding the inevitable last minute rush in the lead up to April 15.

If you are one of the millions of New Yorkers who has already filed their taxes in anticipation of getting a timely state refund, get ready for some potentially frustrating news. You might be waiting awhile for that check because Governor David Paterson is actually considering a delay in sending out taxpayer refunds due to the state’s ongoing cash crunch.

Yes, you read that correctly. Your state government is actually contemplating a policy where it would hang onto your money longer than necessary because it has been unwilling and unable to get its financial house in order.

Have you had enough yet?


State government’s inexplicable decision to even entertain the ridiculous notion of withholding taxpayer refunds – also known as your money – will only cause more financial pain to individuals and small businesses who were counting on getting their money back. It is the latest infuriating case of what I call the perpetual “nickel-and-diming” of New Yorkers and it needs to stop.

Over the past few weeks, I have told you all about the over $1 billion in new taxes, fees and surcharges within the Governor’s 2010-11 Executive Budget. This would be $1 billion on top of the $8.2 billion in taxes and fees imposed by last year’s budget. I also wrote about how the Governor’s current spending plan would cost the typical New York family of four more than $1,800 annually through higher taxes on everything from soda and sports drinks to health care.

Now, piled on top of all these crushing costs, is state government’s consideration of a plan to delay rightful tax refunds, money that belongs to taxpayers in the first place!


People who submitted their tax returns in advance should have a reasonable expectation of receiving a timely refund. However, instead of getting your money back, state government is hatching a scheme to hold onto it until April – and possibly longer. Taxpayers who played by the rules should not be penalized because for decades state government failed to manage its finances and cash flow. Bottom line? State government has to stop penalizing New Yorkers who do the right thing.

Governor Paterson needs to put an immediate stop to any consideration of such an absurd public policy and ensure New York taxpayers do not have to wait to get their money back.


Folks, a tax refund is your money, plain and simple. State government should not be allowed to simply sit on it for months because it is unable to make tough decisions and balance the budget. I don’t want you to get mad – I want you to give those in state government responsible for considering this absurdity a piece of your mind!

Accordingly, if you already filed your taxes and are expecting a refund, contact Governor David Paterson and let him know it’s your money – not state government’s – and that you want it back. Below is a web address and phone number so you can express your concerns directly. If you think contacting state government is a waste of time, think again – your phone calls and e-mails have a profound impact on the policy process. I have said it before and I will say it again: when the people speak loudly, Albany listens closely.


  1. Go to
  2. On the left side is a section titled “Contact the Governor” – click that
  3. This will take you to a page where you can submit your concerns directly via e-mail
  4. You also can call the Governor at (518) 474-8390

As always, constituents wishing to discuss this topic, or any other state-related matter, should contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, or e-mail me at You also can follow me on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and informational updates regarding state government and our Assembly Minority Conference.