Looking for ways to deal with greatly reduced tax collections, states are focusing on their unclaimed property statutes as a potential source of revenue. States are discovering that by changing their laws they can increase what escheats to the state coffers. Changes like expanding the definition of what constitutes "unclaimed property," shortening the period for owners to claim it and limiting recovery options result in more of the property going to the state (and less to the owners).
It is estimated that states collectively hold $33 billion in unclaimed property. Delaware expects to collect $380 million in 2009. So it is no wonder that struggling states are tempted to grab what they can in these disconcerting developments.
Stuart M. Butler of the Heritage Foundation recently scribed a piece called "Think Small," outlining what President Obama must do regarding health care strategy. He stresses the following key points, but I recommend reading the column in full:
1. Make a strong commitment to bipartisanship (don’t be like Bill Clinton).
2. Rather than finding new money to spend during these tough economic times, he should find ways to more efficiently spend the money we are already allocating toward this.
3. Allow the states flexibility to redesign existing health care programs and use the money more efficiently to reach the goal of maximizing affordable coverage.
4. Remember that Americans are very conservative about their health care. Those with coverage are extremely nervous about changing what they already have.