INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 5, 2024) – A bill filed in the Indiana House would treat gold and silver as legal tender in the state, and exempt both from assessment and taxation under Indiana’s property tax statute and from the state gross retail tax.
Rep. Cindy Ledbetter and three cosponsors introduced House Bill 1043 (HB1043) for introduction on Jan. 8. Under the proposed law, “specie” issued by the U.S. government, specie issued by foreign governments, and any other specie that a United States court, in a final non-appealable judgment, determined to be within state authority to make or designate as legal tender under Article Section 10 of the Constitution of the United States would be legal tender in Indiana and recognized as a medium of exchange for the payment of debts and taxes.
“Specie” is defined as:
(1) Coin having gold or silver content.
(2) Refined gold or silver bullion that is coined, stamped, or imprinted with its weight and purity and valued primarily on its metal content and not its form.
HB1043 includes a contract clause under which “a prevailing party in an action for breach of any contract provision that specifically provides for a type or form of specie as tender, regardless of whether specie is recognized as legal tender in Indiana, is entitled to specific performance of the contract provision.”
This wording would reaffirm a court’s ability to require specific performance when enforcing such contracts. If voluntary parties agree to be paid, or to pay, in gold and silver coin, the Indiana courts could not substitute any other thing, e.g. Federal Reserve Notes, as payment.
Practically speaking, making gold and silver legal tender would allow Indianans to use gold or silver coins as money rather than just as mere investment vehicles. In effect, it would put gold and silver on the same footing as Federal Reserve notes.
Passage into law would make Indiana the fifth state to recognize gold and silver as legal tender. Utah led the way, reestablishing constitutional money in 2011. Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Arkansas have since joined.
The effect has been most dramatic in Utah where the legal tender law opened the door for the development of a gold and silver market in the state. With some legal hurdles cleared away by the state, the United Precious Metal Association (UPMA) in partnership with Alpine Gold Exchange set up the state’s first “gold bank.” The Utah Specie Legal Tender Act has also led to the creation of Goldbacks, a local, voluntary medium of exchange. Goldbacks are notes made from fractions of an ounce of physical gold. The company created a process that turns pure gold into a spendable physical form for small transactions.
Provisions in HB1043 would specifically exempt specie and specie legal tender from assessment and taxation under Indiana’s property tax statute and from the state gross retail tax.
Indiana is already one of 42 states that do not levy sales tax on gold and silver bullion. Exempting the sale of bullion from capital gains taxes takes another step toward treating gold and silver as money instead of commodities. Taxes on precious metal bullion erect barriers to using gold and silver as money by raising transaction costs. As Sound Money Defense League policy director Jp Cortez testified during a committee hearing on a similar bill in Wyoming in 2018, charging taxes on money itself is beyond the pale.
“In effect, states that collect taxes on purchases of precious metals are inherently saying gold and silver are not money at all.”
Imagine if you asked a grocery clerk to break a $5 bill and he charged you a 35-cent tax. Silly, right? After all, you were only exchanging one form of money for another. But that’s essentially what a sales tax on gold and silver bullion does. By eliminating this tax on the exchange of gold and silver, Indiana would treat specie as money instead of a commodity. This represents a small step toward reestablishing gold and silver as legal tender and breaking down the Fed’s monopoly on money.
“We ought not to tax money – and that’s a good idea. It makes no sense to tax money,” former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul said during testimony in support of an Arizona bill that repealed capital gains taxes on gold and silver in that state. “Paper is not money, it’s fraud,” he continued.
The United States Constitution states in Article I, Section 10, “No State shall…make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.” Currently, all debts and taxes in Indiana are either paid with Federal Reserve Notes (dollars) which were authorized as legal tender by Congress, or with coins issued by the U.S. Treasury — very few of which have gold or silver in them.
The Federal Reserve destroys this constitutional monetary system by creating a monopoly based on its fiat currency. Without the backing of gold or silver, the central bank can easily create money out of thin air. This not only devalues your purchasing power over time; it also allows the federal government to borrow and spend far beyond what would be possible in a sound money system. Without the Fed, the U.S. government wouldn’t be able to maintain all of its unconstitutional wars and programs. The Federal Reserve is the engine that drives the most powerful government in the history of the world.
Repealing taxes on gold and silver also takes the first step in the process of abolishing the Federal Reserve system by attacking it from the bottom up – pulling the rug out from under it by working to make its functions irrelevant at the state and local levels, and setting the stage to undermine the Federal Reserve monopoly by introducing competition into the monetary system.
In a paper presented at the Mises Institute, Constitutional tender expert Professor William Greene said when people in multiple states actually start using gold and silver instead of Federal Reserve Notes, it would effectively nullify the Federal Reserve and end the federal government’s monopoly on money.
“Over time, as residents of the state use both Federal Reserve notes and silver and gold coins, the fact that the coins hold their value more than Federal Reserve notes do will lead to a “reverse Gresham’s Law” effect, where good money (gold and silver coins) will drive out bad money (Federal Reserve notes). As this happens, a cascade of events can begin to occur, including the flow of real wealth toward the state’s treasury, an influx of banking business from outside of the state – as people in other states carry out their desire to bank with sound money – and an eventual outcry against the use of Federal Reserve notes for any transactions.”
Once things get to that point, Federal Reserve notes would become largely unwanted and irrelevant for ordinary people. Nullifying the Fed on a state-by-state level is what will get us there.
HB1043 was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary where it must get a hearing an pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.
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