In what is turning out to be a lesson in not taking what doesn’t belong to you, Louisiana Treasurer, John Schroder, has denied “Honor Code” the ability to raid yet another “piggy bank” in the state, the unclaimed property account. Schroder is the guardian of unclaimed monies for the citizens of Louisiana, which is in this account. However, it seems like the hogs in Baton Rouge have, for years, raided this account to plug holes in the general budget.
Treasurer John Schroder said he won’t let Louisiana spend $25 million from the state’s unclaimed property account for general operating expenses this year, calling the regularly used financing mechanism illegal.
The decision threatens to create a hole in the state budget only a month after lawmakers finished crafting it.
Louisiana collects unclaimed dollars from old savings accounts, payroll checks, stocks and dividends, insurance proceeds, oil royalty payments and utility deposits on behalf of residents who are owed the cash. The treasurer’s office, designated as the custodian of the unclaimed property, tries to locate people and return the money.
Though governors and lawmakers for decades have spent money from the unclaimed property escrow account on programs and services, Schroder said he and his office’s lawyers don’t believe Louisiana law permits the transfers.