Louisiana treasurer withholding $25M planned for budget

Louisiana

(Photo: nola.com)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Treasurer John Schroder says he won’t let Louisiana spend $25 million from the state’s unclaimed property account for general operating expenses this year.

The Republican state treasurer calls the financing mechanism illegal.

The decision threatens to create a hole in the state’s $30 billion operating budget only a month after lawmakers finished crafting it.

Louisiana collects unclaimed dollars from old savings accounts, stocks and utility deposits on behalf of residents owed the cash. The treasurer’s office tries to locate people and return the money.

Governors and lawmakers for decades have spent money from the unclaimed property escrow account in the budget. Schroder says he and his office’s lawyers don’t believe Louisiana law permits the transfers.

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards disagrees and says the money will pay for critical services.

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