Ithaca Hours

What are Ithaca Hours?
Ithaca Hours is a local currency system that promotes local economic strength and community self-reliance in ways which will support economic and social justice, ecology, community participation and human aspirations in and around Ithaca, New York. Ithaca Hours help to keep money local, building the Ithaca economy. It also builds community pride and connections. Over 900 participants publicly accept Ithaca HOURS for goods and services. Additionally some local employers and employees have agreed to pay or receive partial wages in Ithaca Hours, further continuing our goal of keeping money local.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 for more information, go to:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  and, from the founder:                                                                                                                                  Ithaca HOUR Factsheet

Since 1991, over $110,000 of Ithaca HOURS (11,000 HOURS at $10.00 per HOUR) have been issued. Six denominations: 2 HRS, 1 HR, 1/2 HR, 1/4 HR, 1/8 HR, 1/10 HR. Includes a commemorative HOUR, the first paper money in the U.S. to honor an African-American.


Thousands of people, including 500 businesses, have earned and spent HOURS.


They have made millions of dollars value of trades with HOURS, representing hundreds of job-equivalents at $20,000 each.


HOURS are thus real money– local tender rather than legal tender, backed by real people, real labor, skills and tools.


Most HOURS have been issued as payments to those who agree to be published backers of HOURS, listed in our bimonthly directory HOUR Town. Every year they may send the coupon again to receive a bonus payment– which gradually and carefully increases the HOUR supply.


11% of HOURS are issued as grants to community organizations. Over 100 nonprofits have received grants totalling over 1,500 HOURS ($15,000) since we began.


5% of HOURS may be issued to the system itself, primarily for paying for printing HOURS.


Loans of HOURS are made with NO INTEREST CHARGED. These have ranged $50- $30,000 value.


HOURS are legal. Professor Lewis Solomon of George Washington University has written a book titled “Rethinking Our Centralized Monetary System: the Case for a System of Local Currencies” (Praeger, 1996) which is an extensive case law study of the legality of local currency. IRS and FED officials have been contacted by media, and repeatedly have said there is no prohibition of local currency, as long as it does not look like dollars, as long as denominations are at least $1.00 value, and if it is regarded as taxable income.


HOURS are protected against counterfeit. They are multicolored, with serial numbers. The 1995 Quarter HOUR and 1997 Eighth HOUR use thermal ink, invented in Ithaca, which disappears briefly when touched or photocopied. The 1993 Two HOUR note is printed on locally-made watermarked 100% cattail paper, with matching serial numbers front and back. The 1996 Half HOUR is 100% handmade hemp paper. Our District Attorney has declared HOURS a financial instrument, protected by law from counterfeit.




  • HOURS expand the local money supply
  • HOURS promote and expand local shopping, with an endless multiplier
  • HOURS double the local minimum wage to $10.00, benefitting not only workers but businesses as well, who find new and loyal customers.
  • HOURS enable shoppers to afford premium prices for locally-crafted goods and for locally-grown organic food.
  • HOURS help start new businesses and jobs
  • HOURS reduce dependence on imports and transport fuels
  • HOURS make grants to nonprofit community organizations
  • HOURS make zero-interest loans
  • HOURS stimulate community pride
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