Government & Politics
3:00 am
Mon February 17, 2014

PA Treasurer Weighs in on Corbett's Proposed Changes to Unclaimed Property Law

The state treasurer says part of the governor’s proposal to change the unclaimed property law should come with ramped-up enforcement of the state’s property law.

Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget assumes $150 million from a plan to shorten the holding time of unclaimed and inactive property, like bank accounts and insurance policies.

Treasurer Rob McCord, a Democrat also running for governor, said there are upsides and downsides to the plan.

"The average bankers we know are going to go, ‘This is a pain in the neck.’ Your Aunt Thelma is going to come in here and say, ‘Where’s my money?’ There’s kind of a bit of a hassle tax imposed on people. What you get is you’re moving, you’re telescoping the money forward a bit. That could be useful for balancing the budget," McCord said.

State law currently allows property like bank accounts and insurance policies that is inactive or unclaimed for five years to enter the custody of the Pennsylvania Treasury.

McCord said additional funding for his agency, as well as changes to state law, should support increased enforcement of the state’s abandoned and unclaimed property act.

He’s also cautioning lawmakers the change would generate revenue but it would be a one-time windfall.

Owners face no time limit for claiming property sent to the treasury, but much of it remains in the custody of the state.

The Treasury website shows it’s seeking owners of $1.9 billion worth of property, having returned $100 million worth in 2012.