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Proposed Delay in $200 Million Business Tax Refunds Peeves Purchase Street Merchants

Rye Patch interviewed local business owners about Governor Paterson's recent proposal

There's "No Luv For Gov" according to a recent NYC tabloid headline, and there's no love for "Guv" among the Rye merchants on Purchase Street either, albeit for a different, more taxing reason.

The "Guv" involved in that screaming headline is, of course, the beleaguered NY Governor David Paterson, under fire for allegedly using his influence to make a domestic abuse complaint against one of his aides go away.

The Rye merchants are up in arms against Paterson for a different reason. They don't like the way Paterson has requested that the state delay more than $1 billion in tax refunds for people who file their taxes in March, especially since those delays would include $200 million for business tax refunds and $500 million in personal income tax, among others.

The delay could put the squeeze on local businesses who were depending on getting this cash flow sooner rather than later at a time when there's no business like no business, or slow business, to paraphrase  the show biz slogan.
Indeed, the Purchase Street merchants reactions to Paterson's proposal took on a rags to riches flavor, from "It's not going to be good for me if I'm not going to get the tax refund I'm counting on until later," according to a salesperson at Rags, the clothing emporium, to "I'm not an owner, but if I wasn't going to get the money I'm entitled to when I'm entitled to it, I'd be pi—ed off," said a salesman at the upscale R&M Woodrow Jewelers.

They expressed similar sentiments at All Paws Gourmet Pet Store, where the sign at the entrance says: "All leashed dogs welcome. Please be mindful if your dog urinates on an item in the store, it must be paid for," and that message is not far from two anti-husband signs ("I got rid of my husband. The cat is allergic to him" and "I got a dog for my husband. It was a fair trade.")

There were no-anti Paterson signs, but an animal-loving salesperson said: "I can't stand politicians, any politicians, I hate them all, but if I had tax money coming back I'd want it right away."

Cai Palmer, proprietor of "Wine at Five," said. ""I would have a hard time thinking Paterson could do that legally," he said. "I'm not a tax expert, and I don't think we have one on the Rye Chamber of Commerce, but I would think there would have to be a state law passed first to allow him to do something like defer business tax rebates. Once you withhold payment of the refund due, there's no telling when you'll get the money. And with all Paterson has to worry about, you'd think he has better things to do than worry about deferred payments. Frankly, I'm more concerned about that talk about allowing supermarkets to sell wine. That could cost jobs by driving a lot of wine and liquor stores out of business."

"Government will do anything to squeeze money out of the legitimate small business man in New York State," said Patrick Corcoran, owner of Arcade Booksellers. "Every business owner has to pay a retail tax squeeze of $50 just to be in business. They make you re-register your credit card and business info in a money-costing time wasting manner. We rent our liberty as long as we pay our rent. I've got a good cash flow so the deferred tax rebate won't really matter.  It is what it is. And we're all going to hang in there."

At Polka Dot Penquin Pottery, the salesperson put it differently. "We're not making enough money for the Paterson proposal to make any difference," she said.

At Chase Bank, an executive-- who didn't want to be quoted by name –said the Paterson  move didn't make any real sense "But what do I know from politics –I know money."

Caroline Parker, a City Council member as well as owner of Parker's: Your Travel Starts Here, said:

"New York is in trouble so you have to do what you can do to help, and you have to look at the positive side –they're going to cut the check eventually. That's easy for me to say –I just won $50,000 on a television quiz show."

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