State Treasurer John Schroder is blocking the state from using 25 million dollars in unclaimed property in this fiscal year’s budget, telling lawmakers if they want the money, they’ll “have to drag me to court.”

Schroder says the Legislature has appropriated 850 million dollars of unclaimed property funds over the decades, but after doing some research, he doesn’t think the move it legal.

“When you read the law, the law says that the state of Louisiana is the custodian and the safe keeper of this money. It doesn’t say anywhere in there that we’re supposed to be spending it.”

An Edwards spokesperson responded, saying “The budget bill passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor appropriates that money for critical needs throughout the state”, and that they hope they don’t have to go to court to get the funds.

Schroder says the money in the fund rightfully belongs to the people of Louisiana, and is comprised of money that often from very personal sources such as inheritances, life insurance, and more…

“This is cash, deposits, insurance deposits, utility deposits, kids from college who leave their deposits behind from their rental units. It can even be gift certificates.”

The Republican has served as Treasurer since 2017.

Schroder says technical advances have allowed his department to get more money from that fund out to the public than ever before, so there isn’t even 25 million dollars left for the Legislature to appropriate this year.

“That was an all time high last year of 48,000 claims. Well, we did 206,000 claims this past fiscal year.”

In September the department was so successful in finding people who were owed money, that they overdrew the fund’s account by 20 million dollars and had to delay sending out new checks for 120 days.