Precious metals like gold and silver have an interesting relationship with state economies and currencies. While the federal government has moved away from precious metals in favor of fiat currency, some state governments have also put policies in place that discourage gold and silver investment. Unfortunately, Mississippi is no exception.

Traditionally, currencies were managed on a fixed basis, meaning that governments print and distribute money based on the amount of gold and silver that is available. However, as time has moved on, these standards have been neglected and governments now operate on a more “flexible” monetary system. This means that the federal government can print money at its discretion. The problem is that the more the government prints, the less valuable American currency becomes, which causes serious economic problems like inflation.

It is no secret that the nation is suffering a crisis of inflation currently. This is due to a variety of reason that can be found elsewhere. However, state responses to this problem have started going in the right direction as governments begin to release controls like taxation on precious metals. The reason why this is a good thing is because, while precious metals are also good used for trade, it is effectually a currency. When states tax the sale of precious metals it is essentially taxing money itself. It simply does not make sense and is akin to going to the grocery store and being charged a tax for breaking out a five-dollar bill. This causes individuals to not engage in the precious metals market and distances the economy even more from a grounded monetary system.

A couple of days ago, the Money Metals Exchange and Sound Money Defense League released an index ranking the states on their precious metal policies. Each state is evaluated based on 12-criteria system that primarily examines whether states levy a sales tax against precious coins and bullion. On this point system, Mississippi ranked one of the lowest (7th worst) overall. This indicates a specific problem that can be remedied within the state by removing government taxation on precious metals.

As it stands, Ohio is the only state that has establish policies allocating a percentage of state-held pension funds to physical gold. Additionally, the majority of states throughout the country have either significantly decreased or removed altogether sales taxes on precious metals altogether. This is a good policy in returning to an economy that is grounded in something fixed. This is achieved by treating things like precious metals as distinct from the rest of the economy.

Mississippi is one of only nine states that imposes sales tax on precious metals, thus, it levies a 7% tax on gold and silver purchases. However, it is currently part of a group of states that are considering lessening or removing the sales tax on gold and silver. In the 2021 legislative session, a bill was introduced that would have repealed the sales tax on gold, silver, platinum and palladium bullion. However, the bill died in committee.

Repealing the sales tax on precious would be a good change for the economy. Prices for precious metals, and the inflation rate that comes along with them, should be able to fluctuate naturally without states artificially interfering. This is the essence of how free market economies are supposed to operate.

Friendly precious metal polices on the state level could lessen the burden for individuals like investors engaging in the market and including physical metals as part of their portfolios. Such reforms could also help citizens seeking to protect their savings and retirement from the erosion of inflation.

As Ron Paul describes it when he testified before the Arizona Senate Committee when it considered gold and silver monetary reform: “It makes no sense to tax money.” Mississippi should follow this commonsense principle and remove taxation on precious metals.