Source: MSNBC

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Give people their money. It’s the rallying cry of lawmakers around the country pushing back against states that are delaying tax refunds to shore up their budgets.

Holding on to the refunds allows states to use the money for other purposes, earn interest on it or simply wait until there’s enough cash to cover the checks. But the cost can be an unhappy public.

“It’s not the state’s money, it’s the people’s money,” said Missouri Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem. “It’s money they’ve overpaid to the state, and they deserve to get their money back in a prompt time.”

Hawaii, North Carolina and New York are delaying refunds this year. Minnesota delayed some business tax refunds last year and may do so again. Alabama is waiting to send out millions of dollars in refunds until it has the cash.

Some lawmakers want to force money to be returned faster — even as their states face budget deficits and falling revenue.

Missouri delayed sending refunds last year to beef up its cash reserves. But a backlash from taxpayers has led Republican lawmakers to push legislation to stop it from happening again.

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