Paterson May Delay Tax Refunds

While the ups and downs of Governor Paterson's tenure may command the headlines, legislative leaders say they're trying to avert a budgetary train wreck in Albany. WNYC's Bob Hennelly has more.

REPORTER: The vice chair of the state's Senate Finance Committee, Liz Krueger, says to grasp the scope of the state's dire fiscal picture the public has to keep in mind that tens of billions of dollars of the state's $131 billion budget is actually federal money which state lawmakers don't control. So they're left to make big cuts from a much smaller operating budget.

KRUEGER: What do we have the flexibility over? Less than half of the $131 billion budget. So a $9 billion deficit off of $70 billion.

REPORTER: An even more pressing problem is immediate cash flow. Governor Paterson estimates the state is $2 billion shy of what it needs to make payments to local governments this month. He says he may have to delay sending out tax refund checks.

HOST: The Assembly is expected to pass legislation today to block that move.