By David Madden

TRENTON, NJ (CBS) – A New Jersey Senate committee has cleared a measure that would halt a plan by the Christie Administration to seize the unused value of gift cards two years after their purchase, a plan that is forcing the issuers of some of those cards to stop doing business in the Garden State.

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The vote in the Budget Committee went along party lines: Democrats approving, Republicans abstaining. It now moves to the full senate and insiders believe it’s likely to reach Governor Chris Christie’s desk at some point.

Sponsor of the repeal measure, Paul Sarlo of Wood-Ridge says, “For a governor who puts it out there as a conservative, wants to help business, this is actually hurting businesses across the state,” Because the issuers of many of those cards, led by American Express, are opting out rather than submit to rules regarding the gathering of customer information that they insist they cannot handle.

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“That’s troubling to us that some of these bigger retail merchants, some of the larger companies such as Amex, are willing to take their business out of New Jersey.”

And that could make it quite difficult to purchase many of those cards in convenience stores and such.

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