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RETAILERS GLAD GIFT CARD PROPOSAL OUT OF STATE BUDGET

What was left out of the state budget is making many retailers happy.

The state Senate had originally proposed that retailers turn over any money left on gift cards after three years of inactivity. The proposal also called for abolishing fees and expiration dates on all gift cards and gift certificates sold in the state.

Retailers called it a money grab by New York and balked at having to collect and maintain records showing the name and state of the buyer.

The Retail Council of New York State said the measure was not included in the final version of the budget bill passed last week because of conversations it had on behalf of its members.

"We had a lot of constructive meetings with members on both sides of the aisle and in both houses in a very short period of time," said Ted Potrikus, the state retail council's executive vice president and director of government relations. "We're very pleased that they took the time to listen to our concerns and reconsidered the language for this particular part of the massive budget puzzle."

If the bill had passed, consumers could have gotten their money back from the state by completing paperwork and showing proof of purchase. While the state would earn interest on the money, it would never become property of the state, according to the state comptroller's office, which supported the legislation.