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Regional News

Paterson Withholding Money Displeases Lawmakers

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By Karen DeWitt

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wrvo/local-wrvo-895377.mp3

Albany, NY – State lawmakers are not happy with Governor David Paterson's latest emergency spending bill to keep the state running without a budget.

The governor said he'll withhold a number of expected payments, including planned raises for state workers.

State workers, under terms of their contracts, were supposed to receive four percent raises in their paychecks next week. Paterson now says he's keeping raises out of the next round of emergency spending bills, citing a lack of money.

Senate Finance Committee Vice Chair Liz Krueger says she doesn't like the idea but says legislatures have little power to change Paterson's bills, and if they don't act, they risk a government shut down.

"If you don't pass the emergency spending bills, literally the next day, government, technically, has no money or legality in moving forward," said Krueger.

Senate leader John Sampson says he's concerned that the governor is withholding money for road and bridge repair projects and urges him to rethink his decision.

Lawmakers say they're also displeased that Paterson is delaying state income tax refunds owed to taxpayers for another three weeks.