The question then becomes, what happens to the unused cards? To state legislators, this is seen as their money. After all, they can come up with some contrived rationale for raising fees, taxes or taking property to suit almost any situation. Regardless of the fact that this is a transaction between a retailer and a consumer, the state apparatchiks see this as abandoned property and thus theirs.
Some of you may think this is a left-wing attempt to continue expanding governments intervention into our lives. You need to know that there are plenty of red states that have gotten into this game. Georgia, Utah, Wyoming and Idaho join Washington and Pennsylvania as the worst offenders. These states take 100% of the face value of the unused cards into their bottomless pits. At least some of the other states only take 60% of the face value, crediting the retailers with having costs involved. There are only 9 states, a mix of red and blue ones, who have kept their hands off for now. It is easy to see their elected officials falling into the “me too” argument instead of standing by the principles of personal freedom that built this country. Time will tell in that regard.
Some states are even thinking of extending their taking of personal property to unexpired cards. Texas, which already steals monies into the state fund for expired cards, had a bill pass their House authorizing extension of this horrible law to unexpired cards. That is right – Texas.
The states cover up their stealing of personal property by saying they are actually attempting to return the property to the consumers. Yeah, right. How do you track a card to someone who may have paid cash and then given the card as a gift to then sell it to someone like me? The truth is even if their efforts were real they would barely succeed.
The obvious answer to protect consumers from this abusive extension of government is for them to use the cards in a timely manner. Now that elected officials have extended their rationale for stealing of personal property to gift cards, what will be their next target? New York transferred $691 million this year into its coffers from its residents’ personal property under its various taking laws. Yet, it still had a deficit of $7.4 billion.
On this wonderful weekend where we are celebrating the most historic change in personal freedom for mankind – the Declaration of Independence – this issue may seem like a small infringement. If you believe so, that is a problem. That is why this cancer continues to grow. Where will they go next and when will they stop? That is up to us all.