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Arizona is known for copper. Lawmaker wants to add state's own Fort Knox filled with gold

Arizona would create its own version of Fort Knox to store gold bullion and set up a state-run exchange where residents could buy, sell and store gold under a proposal being pushed by a state senator who leads the conservative Arizona Freedom Caucus.

Sen. Jake Hoffman's effort to launch a state-run bullion depository and exchange enabling people to use it to pay their bills comes down to what he said is distrust of government financial policy. He said it is designed to enable average people who aren’t part of the "investor class'' to boost their wealth and protect their assets.

"The dollar is in grave danger due to failed federal monetary and fiscal policy,'' the Queen Creek Republican told members the Senate Finance and Commerce Committee this past week. He said that allowing state-sponsored trading and storage of gold will help ordinary Arizonans hedge against a currency collapse.

The measure was one of three Hoffman-sponsored bills that focused on currency concerns passed by the committee with only support from majority Republicans.

And the full Senate on Thursday approved a trio of measures along the same lines: one encouraging the state retirement system to consider investing in digital currency and two others that exempt digital currency from property taxes, even though they aren't real property subject to taxation. The digital currency property tax measure is contingent on voter approval.

Senate Minority Leader Mitzi Epstein laughed at all of them, and called the property tax proposal just one of the "bananas'' proposals. That may be a sign that Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs, who set a veto record last year, may sniff at the proposals if they hit her desk.

Republican lawmakers have for years been echoing the far-right view that the nation’s currency is set for collapse.

As early as 2013, measures aiming to appease those with similar views have been introduced in the Legislature, with items ranging from designating gold and silver as legal tender to exempting previous metals from capital gains taxes. This year’s crop of GOP-backed measures embraces that same mantra.

Hoffman's bullion depository proposal, SB 1633, mirrors one set up in Texas in 2015.

It would serve not only as a place for the state to stash any gold reserves it may obtain but also as one where private citizens could safely store their own gold and silver. It would also act as an exchange where people could buy and sell physical gold, even in fractional shares, and use it to pay their debts.

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