JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — There are those who say cash is king, and at least one Florida lawmaker seems to take that phrase to heart.
He’s filed a new bill that would require most businesses to accept cash or face stiff fines.
Cash has become less popular in the modern era, with some establishments refusing to accept the traditional form of payment in favor of credit cards or other electronic payment methods.
For many consumers like Lauren, who we caught up making a purchase at a local food truck, it’s not a problem.
“I do not carry cash. Card is the way to go,” said Lauren.
But State Representative Dr. Joel Rudman (R-Navarre) had a recent run-in that got him thinking.
“I attended a concert back in June where for an entire square block around Amalie Arena I couldn’t find a business that would take cash,” said Rudman.
Rudman, a Republican, said that experience combined with growing concerns of electronic purchases being traced led him to file new legislation, mandating most businesses in the state accept cash payments.
Fine for violations would start at $2,500 for a first offense, increase to $5,000 for a second, and peak at $10,000 for any additional violations.
He argued you only have to look as far as the currency in your wallet to understand why he believes his bill should be law.
Printed on each piece of paper money are the words, “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private”.
“Americans do not want every single transaction they make to be traced by their government. There are somethings where they want to keep in private, like for example, when they buy ammunition,” said Rudman.
He said he believes his idea could garner bipartisan support in the upcoming legislative session, arguing cash acceptance could also benefit urban communities.
“I think you’re gonna see my Democratic colleagues say it’s unfair to expect someone in the inner city to whip out a credit card for every purchase or to be able to afford Google Pay or Apple Pay. Again, it’s just not realistic,” said Rudman.
Rudman said he has fielded some criticism from people who have argued his bill constitutes the government telling businesses how they can operate.
He countered his bill gives consumers the freedom to pay however best suits them.
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