Policy Director J.P. Cortez of Sound Money Defense League on the Untaxing of Precious Metal Assets in Tennessee

Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed J. P. Cortez, policy director for the Sound Money Defense League, to the newsmaker line to talk about the organization’s purpose and Tennessee’s recent decision to stop taxing the purchase of gold and silver.

Leahy: On our newsmaker line, J.P. Cortez, the policy director for the Sound Money Defense League. Good morning, J.P.

Cortez: Hey, good morning, Michael. Thanks for having me on.

Leahy: What is the Sound Money Defense League?

Cortez: The Sound Money Defense League is a nonpartisan policy group, and we work nationwide to eliminate the taxes and the disincentives that go into, or that regulate, the purchase, sale, and use of gold and silver. America’s constitutional

money. Across a variety of states there … in Tennessee’s case, until this year, Tennessee was charging a sales tax to purchase gold and silver.

And there is no other investment that Tennessee does that with – stocks, bonds, etc. There is no other sales tax on assets like that, and it was an injustice. And fortunately, I’m happy to say that Governor Lee has recently signed that bill into law to fix that.

Leahy: So now where is the Sound Money Defense League based?

Cortez: Charlotte, North Carolina. So our office is in Charlotte. But this year, for example, we worked in 11 different states working on 24 different pieces of legislation to eliminate taxes on gold and silver, to allow states to invest pension funds and state reserve funds in precious metals, and to allow in-state depositories, Tennessee, for example. The next step here is for legislators to have an appetite for establishing an in-state depository, where the state can hold its own gold and silver if they chose to invest any.

Leahy: Our own Fort Knox.

Cortez: Yeah, absolutely …

Leahy: I’m in favor of that. What a great idea. Now tell us who’s behind the Sound Money Defense League. How long has it been around?

Cortez: So, the Sound Money Defense League is a small policy project started in 2016, the Money Metals Exchange, a national precious metals dealer. And when I graduated from undergrad, I teamed up with the precious metals dealer to start this policy group.

We saw that there was an absence of advocates in this space. There were states all over that are charging onerous taxes, that are regulating this space in a way that many times is really unfair. So we teamed up to start this policy group, and it is a small outfit, but we’re doing a lot with a little.

Leahy: Where did you do your undergrad work, J.P.?

Cortez: I studied at Auburn University.

Leahy: War Eagle!

Cortez: War Eagle. That’s right.

Leahy: All right. Well, look, here’s a question for you, though, J.P. Out of all the things that somebody could do and focus on, what is it that got you and the other founders of the Sound Money Defense League, what is it that got you focused on getting rid of the sales tax for gold and silver?

And why are gold and silver and these two particular precious metals so important for long-term investment?

Cortez: So for thousands of years now, gold and silver have been money. This is money that has retained its value through the course of time, through the course of time while under the self-correcting mechanisms of a free market.

Gold and silver are not money that governments waved a wand and deemed money. Gold and silver have held their value, tested by the market for thousands of years. And that’s an indicator.

One of the things that make gold and silver a good money, whereas what we have today is political money, [is] it’s money by decree. It’s Fiat money. And for me, anyway, there’s a morality to this.

At a time today when you have record-high inflation, you have geopolitical uncertainty, you have what can only be described as incompetence coming from the Oval Office and this administration.

People are struggling to afford their food and their housing and their medicine, and politicians are actively making it harder for them to do so.

Inflation is a policy choice, and not only are people today being harmed by inflation, but also the future generations that we are borrowing this money from.

We’re putting this load on our progeny: my children, your children, their children. And there’s a morality to this theft, because that’s what it is. It’s a hidden tax.

Leahy: I read in your press release that Tennessee is the 42nd state now in which there is no sales tax on gold and silver because it is an investment vehicle as opposed to a product that’s being used for whatever purpose.

The other thing that I find quite fascinating is this idea of having our own Fort Knox in Tennessee. Everybody smiles: I get that, I understand what that is. How many other states currently have their own version of Fort Knox?

Cortez: Not many as far as state-chartered depositories. Texas famously has one. And there are other states that have introduced measures to establish one. None have passed yet. Tennessee has actually introduced over the last couple of years, measures …

Leahy: So where is Texas’s Fort Knox? Is it like in a bank vault somewhere, or do they have guards around it? How much gold do they have?

Cortez: Yeah It’s called a class 3 vault. You’re talking about the thermal sensors and the pressure sensors and the guards and all of that. And it’s backed, fully insured. It is its own Fort Knox, and that is, I think, outside of Austin …

Leahy: How much gold and silver do they have in it?

Cortez: Well, the reason they opened it is because they had a billion dollars in the teacher pension fund. They had their own gold, and that’s why they built it, for that reason.

And Ohio has about a billion dollars that they just put into their fire and police pension fund. They’re thinking about it as well. And now that Tennessee has ended this tax, they can start thinking about something like this as well.

Leahy: Interesting. So anybody introduced this legislation to have our own Fort Knox yet?

Cortez: Yeah. Representative Bud Halsey has been an advocate for Sound Money and these issues for a long time.

Leahy: Very, very interesting. Okay, so what’s your next agenda item here in Tennessee if we want to get our own version of Fort Knox?

What are the odds that this would pass in the next Tennessee General Assembly that meets in January this coming year?

Cortez: Probably not likely that it would pass this year, but these bills and all of this starts a conversation where Tennessee might be more interested in preserving taxpayer funds, preserving pension funds, preserving rainy-day funds with gold and silver. So all of this is part of a bigger process.

Leahy: One thing that I think would be incentive is we can’t have Texas leading the way, right? Absolutely.

Cortez: We have to come back up and claim a spot.

Leahy: Exactly.

Listen to the interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.













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