Paterson To Release Delayed Payments To Schools, Local Governments

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Gov. David Paterson said this morning that $750 million in aid to schools and local governments that he withheld last month because of the state’s fiscal woes will be released Friday.

Paterson said the money is available because state revenue picked up this month. Paterson had delayed the payments in December as the state faced running out of money at the end of the calendar year.

The delay in payments, which were approved last April in the current 2009-10 budget year, led school groups to sue the governor to restore the aid. But the lawsuit had been put on hold because Paterson had indicated in recent weeks that he would seek the restore the money if the revenue was available.

“Because revenues have now come in to the extent that we were expecting in January, I am now on Friday going to complete all the payments to everyone who was supposed to get money from the state in December,” Paterson said on WOR-AM (710) in Manhattan today.

But the Democratic governor warned that the state’s fiscal troubles are far from over. He said the state has between $12 billion and $13 billion in payments due in March, and he may have to delay payments again depending on the state’s fiscal condition.

“So that will be the end of this chapter, but not the end of this problem,” Paterson said.

Paterson will release his 2010-11 budget proposal on Tuesday. The state’s fiscal year starts April 1.

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