POLITICS

Georgia Legislator's Bill Would Require Taxes Be Paid In Gold And Silver

Bobby Franklin, a Republican state legislator from Georgia, has introduced a new piece of legislation that, if passed, would force Georgians to pay their taxes in gold and silver coins.

Here's what his Constitutional Tender Act sets forth:

Pre-1965 silver coins, silver eagles, and gold eagles shall be the exclusive medium which the state shall use to make any payments whatsoever to any person or entity, whether private or governmental. Such coins shall be the exclusive medium which the state shall accept from any person or entity as payment of any obligation to the state including, without limitation, the payment of taxes; provided, however, that such coins and other forms of currency may be used in all other transactions within the state upon mutual consent of the parties of any such transaction.

ThinkProgress argues such an abrupt return to the gold or silver standard could stagnate the tax-payment process:

Were Franklin's bill ever to become law it would have immediate and catastrophic consequences for Georgia's economy. Among other things, the U.S. Mint simply does not make very many gold and silver coins -- the Mint has even suspended sales of precious medal coins when demand rises above very low levels -- so it is unlikely that enough coins even exist to allow Georgia taxpayers to pay more than a fraction of their tax obligations if they are required to do so in U.S. minted gold or silver.

Franklin, who has made a name for himself through his radical history of legislative proposals, has brought up similar bills before, arguing Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution sets forth that no state shall "make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts."

The measure would allow the current legal tender -- dollars -- to be used in other financial transactions (unrelated to taxes), but only if both parties agreed to do so. The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that the Peach State collected about $1.3 billion in revenues last month. With the current rate of gold around $1,400 an ounce, that payment would amount to about 58,000 pounds of gold. If that sum was paid in silver, now worth about $30 an ounce, it would weigh in at about 2.7 million pounds.