Let's replace our dollars with 'Canyon Cash' - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Let's replace our dollars with 'Canyon Cash'

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Posted: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 2:55 pm | Updated: 2:33 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

There is an old saying that goes, "If you don't have enough money, then go print some more."

And if there was ever a time that we need some more money, now is that time. So, I say let's print some cash. Well, not "us" individually. I mean "us" collectively. As in the Valley. Confused? Don't be. Allow me to explain.

An article in the April 6 edition of USA Today reported that several communities across the country are experimenting with their own local currency. The idea is to help local businesses and give struggling families just a little bit of help.

Here's how it works: Businesses and citizens form a network to print the currency. Shoppers buy it at a discount and spend the full value at stores that accept the currency. According to the article, a person would spend 95 cents to buy one dollar's worth of the local stuff. The result would be that people would be encouraged to buy local. Everyone benefits.

The idea is not new. According to the article, this concept was first tried during the Depression era and it was successful for many communities. Now, about a dozen cities across the U.S. are considering the idea or have already implemented a program. One notable city is Detroit. There, three business owners are printing $4,500 worth of Detroit Cheers, which they will hand out to customers to spend in one of 12 shops, according to the USA Today piece.

Pittsboro, N.C., calls its money "Plenty." The currency was first created in 2002 and is being printed in denominations of $1, $5, $20 and $50. A local bank, the story says, will exchange $9 for $10 worth of Plenty. There are only two catches. First, the money can look nothing like federal bills or be promoted as legal tender of the United States. And second, the income to the business is taxable by the Internal Revenue Service.

"It reinforces the message that having more control of the economy in local hands can help you cushion yourself from the blows to the marketplace," South Bend, Ind., resident Jackie Smith told the newspaper. Smith is trying to launch a local currency in her town.

So, if we were to create our own currency for the Valley of the Sun we must first figure out what we're going to call our new cash.

An obvious first candidate is that wonder of the world up north, the Grand Canyon. It would make for a nice photo on the money. We could call it "Canyon Cash," for example. Another possibility is "Cactus Cash" or simply "Saguaros." The possibilities are almost as endless as the amount we could print.

The only concern would be to make sure Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio knows about it. The last thing we need is to be thrown in Tent City for carrying what he believes is counterfeit currency. Maybe if we just put his face on the bills ...

Michael Taylor is a Chandler resident.

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