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DGC Blog: H.B. 317 Utah’s Sound Money Dilemma
On November 28, 2011, journalist Robert Gehrke wrote depressing but accurate article for the Salt Lake Tribune entitled “Gold, silver legal tender in Utah, but a long way from replacing the dollar”.

Gehrke points out that in March of this year, Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert signed into law H.B. 317 making gold and silver U.S. minted coins legal tender in Utah. The new law permits gold and silver coins to be accepted for their precious metal value and not just the face value on the coins. Unfortunately, this new sound money reality has had little or no impact on everyday business in Utah.

Gehrke’s article even describes how an Orem, UT man was able to buy goods from a few local companies and pay his LDS Church tithing with precious metal, however, the Utah County and state treasurers totally rejected the precious metals payments. (even though it is law in Utah)

In these 4 points below, his article summed up H.B. 317.
  1. Declaration of gold/silver coin legal tender status pursuant to the monetary authority expressly reserved to the states under article 1, section 10 of the U.S. Constitution;
  2. Voluntary exchange clause to acknowledge state and federal concurrent monetary powers and to ensure that state authorized legal tender will trade at market value;
  3. State tax exemption in recognition of the fundamental premise that any tax laid on money would effectively demonetize it; and
  4. Mandate for further study towards implementation of a full-featured complementary currency system.
Unfortunately, we can now recognize that progressing toward sound money in Utah has more than one issue hindering actual progress.
  1. No person in Utah involved with this project has any hands on experience with a digital gold currency system. I understand, the new law does not directly address the idea of a digital gold currency but this project is 100% headed in that direction.
  2. No one involved with this project in Utah has ever used gold & silver as everyday money. In fact very few people in the U.S. have been involved with any precious metal currency.
  3. No one in Utah has any real experience conducting a campaign to introduce this new kind of money to merchants and consumers. We all know that Utah is “Life Elevated”TM because a sporty ad campaign told us. What is “sound money” to Utah?
Gehrke tries to point out in his article that “the real game changer” would be private companies storing metal and issuing a debit card balance against the stored value. There is no mention of how the balance would be stored or the transactions recorded. This card product, he tells us, would permit customers to draw on the metal’s value and shop around town using their shiny new “gold cards”. In fact we’ve heard rumors of several folks in Salt Lake City that could now be testing the debit card idea. Kudo’s to those people.
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