POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Does Lambert have the Midas touch?

February 1, 2010

At hearing Tuesday in Denver, a General Assembly committee will debate a plan by a Colorado Springs Republican to plow the state’s savings account into buying gold, silver and platinum.

Rep. Kent Lambert’s HB1155 would set up a gold-plated emergency fund for the state by using taxes on drilling and mining to buy precious metals -- actual metal rather than paper futures. Better yet, the press could see the state’s stored wealth at the Capitol in Denver.

(See a complete list of bill introduced by Pikes Peak-area lawmakers here).

Lambert, who sits on the state’s Joint Budget Committee, has been a big advocate of expanding the state’s emergency reserves so the government can better weather economic downturns.

With the state looking at a $1 billion budget shortfall for the fiscal year that starts in July, there’s seldom been a better time to advocate saving for a rainy day.

But Lambert takes that a step farther by plowing rainy-day cash into gold, silver and platinum. That’s a symbol of his belief that rampant spending will devalue U.S. currency, leading to a widespread economic collapse and leaving the only safe harbor for wealth in gold.

The policy has conservative advocates nationwide.

But Lambert’s bill also calls on the state to store the metals in the already overcrowded Capitol where lawmakers work in a warren of cubicles and closet space may be worth more than gold, which was trading Monday at $1,096 per troy ounce.

Lambert’s bill calls on the Colorado State Patrol to secure the riches, and says the media will be able to see the state’s accumulated wealth once a year.

The Capitol already has a significant store of gold. In 1908, the state's leaders ordered the building's dome adorned with 200 ounces of gold plating to commemorate the gold fever that brought prospectors and wealth to the Front Range.

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