Brother, can you spare $36? Or $121? Or whatever your income tax return from New York state would have been this year? That is, in essence, what Gov. David “285 Days and Counting” Paterson is asking of state taxpayers in an effort to keep New York’s bum government afloat. The governor has followed through on his threat to delay state income tax refunds.

Brother, can you spare $36? Or $121? Or whatever your income tax return from New York state would have been this year?

That is, in essence, what Gov. David “285 Days and Counting” Paterson is asking of state taxpayers in an effort to keep New York’s bum government afloat. The governor has followed through on his threat to delay state income tax refunds.

This is the kind of executive decision — along with proposals like taxing soda pop and forcing all New Yorkers to buy new, more-expensive license plates — that has generated for Paterson approval ratings not seen since the Ebola virus was in the news.

But give Paterson this: He at least acknowledges there is a bit of an imbalance in the state’s financial books — $9 billion and counting — and he is attempting, in his own well-meaning if not politically suicidal way, of countering it.

I mean, if I were told delaying receipt of my tax refund for a month or two could help pay down New York’s massive debt, would I willingly make the sacrifice? Absolutely! And I’m not just saying that because I won’t be getting a refund — I’d be just as willing to delay paying the amount I owe.

Problem is, New York’s debt is such that we’d have to put off receiving our tax returns for more like two years. Also we’d have to sell our cars and houses and forward that money to Albany and perhaps even send a little extra at the end of each month, like we do with our elderly parents. (Well, like you do; I don’t even get an income tax refund.)

But does Paterson get any support from fellow lawmakers for taking the politically unpopular step of preventing honest, hard-working, tax-paying state residents from being given their own money? Does anyone in Albany have Dave’s back?

As Sarah Palin might say, “What’s the opposite of ‘You bet’cha’?”

Republicans certainly aren’t about to support a Democratic governor in what amounts to a reverse-Robin Hood tax grab. In fact, local state Sens. George Winner and Michael Nozzolio are sponsoring legislation that would require New York to process income tax refunds within 30 days. As if a simple act of legislation could get the state to accomplish anything in 30 days.

Nozzolio, whose Republicans ran the Senate for almost 40 years before losing their majority, continues to labor under the misapprehension that the state’s budget woes began on Jan. 1, 2009, the day Democrats got their hands on the Senate gavel.

“New York State’s current budget crisis could have been avoided if the State Legislature had acted responsibly last year,” he says.

Stop it, Mike; you’re killing me. I haven’t laughed this hard since Eric Massa’s 50th birthday party.

There’s only one thing bipartisan about Albany and that’s the fiscal problems both parties have contributed to for decades.

Well, OK ... two things in Albany are bipartisan: The fiscal mess and lack of support for Paterson. Here’s Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Paterson’s tax-delay plan: “I think it’s inappropriate, I think it’s wrong and I think we’re going to have some legislation that will deal with that.”

Most governors sign legislation, Paterson has to duck it.

If nothing else, the governor has taken the suspense out of filing income tax returns. Unlike years past, New Yorkers this go-round will either owe money to the state, which will tick them off, or they’ll be due a refund, which will tick them off.

David Paterson: Bringing all New Yorkers together!

Messenger managing editor Kevin Frisch’s column, Funny Thing ..., appears each Sunday in the Daily Messenger. Contact him at (585) 394-0770, ext. 257, or via e-mail at kfrisch@messengerpostmedia.com.