Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station
SD State Treasurer Josh Haeder
Anywhere from $20 million to $30 million in unclaimed property value each year, goes into the state’s general fund. It’s considered revenue and is applied to the state budget.

State using unclaimed funds as revenue stream in budget

PIERRE, S.D.  — Millions of dollars in unclaimed property are received by the state each year. To Republican Rep. Tony Venhuizen, it’s time the state Legislature had more oversight over that money.

But South Dakota State Treasurer Josh Haeder said House Bill 1118 isn’t needed and could hamper the state’s ability to return unclaimed property back to rightful owners in the future.

The majority on the Senate Appropriations Committee agreed with Venhuizen and approved HB1118. The bill will go to the full Senate.

Right now, unclaimed property of $20 million to $30 million in value each year, goes into the state’s general fund. It’s considered revenue and applied to the state budget. The state treasurer withholds the cost of returning the unclaimed property before it all goes into the general fund.

Venhuizen’s bill would take the costs of returning unclaimed property out after the property has been turned over to the general fund. It would also add more oversight by the Legislature including appropriations committees. That oversight would be the same as other agencies in the state who present budgets to appropriations, Venhuizen said.

Unclaimed PropertyThat process could create conflict, Haeder said. The state could lose its incentive to return unclaimed property to a rightful owner because it may want the property to remain in the general fund.

Venhuizen said the Legislature would continue to want to return unclaimed property to a rightful owner.

Committee member Republican Sen. John Wiik said HB1118 was a problem looking for a solution. He was worried that HB1118 could possibly hamper returning unclaimed property in the future.

No lawmakers who spoke in favor of the bill said there was a problem with how the state treasurer was handling unclaimed property.

Committee member Republican Sen. Bryan Breitling said the unclaimed property is a growing division in the state and it needs to be handled the same as other agencies who present before appropriations.

Committee chair Republican Sen. Jean Hunhoff said she isn’t in favor of waiting until there could be a problem. Oversight belongs with the Legislature, she said.

HB1118 passed with 7 yes votes and 2 no votes. This was after a do pass motion was made to amend Wiikk’s motion to send it to the 41st day.

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