By Tim Gaynor
PHOENIX May 2 Arizona Governor Jan Brewer
vetoed a measure on Thursday that would have made gold and
silver legal tender in the state, saying the legislation could
have resulted in lost tax revenue.
The Republican-controlled state legislature voted through
the measure last month in a response to what backers said was a
lack of confidence in the international monetary system.
The bill called for Arizona to make gold and silver coins
and bullion legal tender beginning in mid-2014, joining existing
U.S. currency issued by the federal government.
"While I believe the concern over a devalued dollar as a
result of an unsustainable federal deficit is justified, I am
unable to support this legislation," Brewer, a Republican, said
in an open letter to state Senate President Andy Biggs.
Brewer noted that the "administrative and fiscal burdens"
for taxpayers and the revenue department "remain vague." She
also cited uncertainty over whether the legislation would have
required the state to exempt transactions involving collectable
coins and bills that were authorized by Congress and could be
used as legal tender.
"This would result in lost revenue to the state, while
giving businesses that buy and sell collectable coins or
currency originally authorized by Congress an unfair tax
advantage," she said.
The push to establish gold and silver as currency has become
increasingly popular in the United States in recent years among
some hardline fiscal conservatives, with the backing of groups
including the Tea Party movement, American Principles Project
and the Gold Standard Institute.
Senator Chester Crandell, a Republican and sponsor of the
bill, previously said the ability to use gold and silver in
everyday life in the state was still a "work in progress" and
that more legislation was needed before it could be viable. He
could not immediately be reached for comment.
Democratic state Senator Steve Farley, an opponent of the
measure who had warned it could create massive problems for
businesses and government officials trying to administer what
would in effect be a dual monetary system, welcomed the veto.
"I was very pleased the governor showed the common sense to
realize this was a terrible move for Arizona that would have
caused incredible negative consequences at a government and
business level," Farley told Reuters.
Had Brewer signed the measure, Arizona would have become the
second state in the nation to establish the precious metals as
legal tender. Utah approved such legislation in 2011.