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Saturday, October 24, 2020
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Finance Commissioner: ‘Tax Refunds Should be Completed in September’

Taxpayers aggravated at waiting and waiting for their 2011 income tax refunds should get their cash in September, Finance Commissioner Angel Dawson said during Senate budget hearings Tuesday.

Acknowledging the frustration and anger of those awaiting refunds, Dawson said ongoing cash shortages and a lack of sufficient appropriated funds for returns had slowed the sending of refund checks.

"Just like the human heart can only pump the blood that it has, the Department of Finance can only pump the money that it has," Dawson said. "At present, that takes the form of approximately $2.5 million every non-payday week. But with a pending transfusion from an expected issuance of $120 million in working capital bonds by the Public Finance authority around the end of next month, we expect to pump out more than $50 million in income tax refunds during the month of September," he continued.

Dawson presented the department’s Fiscal Year 2013 General Fund budget request of $5.3 million, a decrease of $2.4 million, or 31 percent, over the past three fiscal years, he said. The budget request is $490,000, or 8.5 percent less than the FY 2012 appropriation.

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Reflecting the reductions in funding, Finance now has 61 positions, down by 51 positions, or 46 percent since 2010, Dawson said. During the past year, 22 employees left, with 16 leaving for retirement and six due to dismissals.

Finance also expects $2.7 million from the Indirect Cost Fund for in-kind services to the federal government, and $557,000 from the Government Insurance Fund, for total appropriated funds of $8.5 million.

Personnel costs comprise $2.8 million, and Social Security, Medicare and benefits account for another $1 million of the Finance Department budget. The "other services and charges" category makes up another $3.5 million, with $2.5 million of that due to a contract for professional services with the accounting firm of Ernst and Young. Utilities are projected at $845,000.

No votes were taken at the information gathering budget hearing.

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