For far too long, states have used outdated unclaimed property laws to seize business assets in an effort to pad state revenues. But House Bill 1075, which passed today, would empower businesses to protect their property and assets.
Currently, Missouri ranks near the bottom of states for unclaimed property laws. The national Council on State Taxation has studied this issue, giving Missouri a “D” grade, behind only Delaware, Mississippi and New York. Many poor performing states have used outdated laws to turn unclaimed property into a revenue source. The Council on State Taxation has estimated that states have taken in more than $40 billion in unclaimed property. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry made the point this session that using unclaimed property as a revenue stream shows a failure in a state’s core mission regarding unclaimed property—restoring this property to its rightful owner.
“When it comes to unclaimed property, the state has an important role to play,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “But with our current outdated laws, the temptation of additional state resources could lead Missouri’s process to devolve into a money grab, making it difficult and costly for businesses to protect what they rightly own. We thank our General Assembly for addressing this problem.”
House Bill 1075 is sponsored by Rep. Rocky Miller, a Republican from Tuscumbia. The bill improves Missouri’s unclaimed property laws by stopping the state from claiming property in business-to-business transactions, establishing reasonable time limits on state audits of unclaimed property and creating a new unclaimed property appeal process. The Missouri Chamber now calls on Gov. Jay Nixon to sign this bill.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.mochamber.com) was founded in 1923 and is the largest business organization in Missouri, representing almost 3,000 employers, providing more than 425,000 jobs for Missourians.