Speedier takeover of unclaimed property considered in Pa.

    The state treasurer is weighing in on the governor’s proposal to change Pennsylvania’s unclaimed property law.

    Shortening the holding period for unclaimed property — such as bank accounts and uncashed checks — has been proposed by both Republicans and Democrats as a quick way to generate about $150 million for the commonwealth.

    “It is a one-time revenue fix, it’s not some huge boon in revenue,” said Treasurer Rob McCord during a hearing before Senate lawmakers. “But at least it’s in one lane; we’re not grabbing revenue from one fund to the other. What you’re doing when you reduce the dormancy limit is you’re suddenly saying something’s definitely lost after three years instead of five years.”

    The change is part of Gov. Tom Corbett’s $29.4 billion budget proposal.

    “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,” McCord said. “What you get is you’re moving, you’re telescoping, the money forward a bit. That could be useful for balancing the budget.”

    The move would require other changes to the state’s abandoned and unclaimed property law to allow for ramped-up enforcement, said McCord, a candidate for the Democratic nomination to run against Corbett in the fall.

    Currently, once property is left inactive or unclaimed for five years it enters the custody of the state Treasury, which has about $1.9 billion worth of unclaimed goods.

    Most of that will likely remain with the state; in 2012, the treasury returned just $100 million worth of property to its owners.

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