Here’s a clip from my interview last night with Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, who is giving the Paterson administration a taste of its own medicine by refusing to send in his weekly share of Medicaid payments – about $853,000 – to protest the fact that he hasn’t received some $32 million in return for state-contracted services already rendered.

County executives all over New York have been complaining about delayed payments, which the Budget Division says it necessary to manage the state’s cash flow.

Some local officials have resorted to borrowing to get through this crunch, but Picente (a Republican) says he thinks it’s unfair to ask him to put his county in the red and its credit rating at risk.

“I don’t want to go into debt,” Picente told me. “We’re not in debt right now. My county has been above the fold and I want to stay that way. We worked hard, myself and the Board of Legislators, to make sure we stayed that way in these difficult economic conditions.”

Picente’s Medicaid payment was due to be wired into the state’s coffers yesterday. He sent a letter to Gov. David Paterson informing him the cash would not be coming, but told me he didn’t hear back. When I checked with the governor’s office, it was the first they had heard of this.

Later, I got the following statement from Budget Division spokesman Erik Kriss:

“The state is facing the same kind of difficult circumstances as other levels of government, and State payments have been delayed not only to counties but to entities across the board including those that serve the poor, contractors, tenants, etc. We are managing cash as best we can to ensure neither the State nor localities run out of money.”

Picente Letter