A Senate panel has approved a proposal reversing a 2010 law that allows the state to claim the revenue from dormant gift cards.

The sponsor, Sen. Paul Sarlo, says government would be overstepping its bounds if permitted to claim unused gift cards after two years.

The state saw idle gift cards as an untapped revenue source to help balance the budget. But retailers sued and the state has realized almost none of the more than $50 million it hoped to claim.

On Thursday, the Senate Budget Committee advanced a measure removing gift cards from the unclaimed property law.

The Assembly approved a similar bill in March.

Sarlo also says significant cuts will have to be made from Gov. Chris Christie's proposed state budget to match a continuing slump in revenues.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)