OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO)- The latest budget plan passed in the House includes taking money from the state's Unclaimed Property Fund.
In large vaults in the capitol and in various accounts, there's about $80-million worth of unclaimed property. The Treasurer's Office tries to track down the rightful owners but, over the years, the legislature has used the fund to fix budget shortfalls.
"The trick is finding the right balance between returning the money to the rightful owners and using some of it for public purpose. Frankly, in the last few years that's been out of balance… We took over operations of the program in the year 2000. Since then, in those years, the legislature has used $305 million from the fund to help fill holes in the budget," explained Deputy Treasurer for Communications Tim Allen.
The Treasurer's Office says it has enough to pay current claims, but that dipping into the funds to fix budget problems is a bad idea.