Hawley: Withholding Tax Refunds from New Yorkers Is Unacceptable

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C—Batavia) released the following statement today in response to Governor Paterson’s proposal to temporarily withhold state tax refunds from New York State residents.

“This week’s announcement by Governor Paterson that he plans to delay state income tax refunds is unacceptable and just another prime example of Albany’s inability to manage taxpayer dollars,” said Hawley. “Many families and small businesses depend on receiving their refunds on time in order to make large purchases, which in turn boost their local economy. By withholding these refunds, Albany is adding to the unreasonable financial strain New Yorkers already are being forced to bear.”

The Paterson administration is considering a plan to withhold $500 million in refunds in order to help close the budget gap. In doing so, the state does not have to pay interest on withholding the tax refunds until forty-five days after April 15, giving the state an interest-free loan from taxpayers. According to the Governor’s office, tax refunds will be sent to filers no later than the first two weeks of April.

“Taxpayers are mandated to submit their tax returns on time every year or face an interest penalty. If the State is late in paying refunds, why shouldn’t it be forced to pay taxpayers back with interest, too? It is my hope that in the coming days the Governor will reconsider this ill-advised proposal and give taxpayers the refunds they deserve. Otherwise, my advice to New Yorkers is the same that I give to my own family: take more exemptions on your future tax filings because it’s your money to begin with, not theirs,” Hawley concluded.