The independent, non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) has now recommended a move to the dollar coin eight times to Congress. They have estimated that the federal government could save at least $4.4 billion, if not more, without raising a single tax or cutting a single program.
“GAO stands for accountability, reliability and independence,” Philip Diehl, former Director of the U.S. Mint testified, “Since 1990, GAO has issued seven reports, all reaching the same conclusion: billions will be saved. The estimated savings over 30 years have ranged from $4.4 billion to $15.7 billion. It didn’t matter whether a Republican or Democrat asked the question, the answer always came back the same.”
“We continue to believe that replacing the note with a coin is likely to provide a financial benefit to the government if the note is eliminated and negative public reaction is effectively managed through stakeholder outreach and public education,” said Lorelei St. James, who testified on behalf of the GAO. “Many other countries have successfully replaced low denomination notes with coins, even when initially faced with public opposition.”
In addition to testimony from the GAO and the former Director of the U.S. Mint, the House Financial Services subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology heard from the Royal Canadian Mint and others. Canada transitioned to a dollar coin in 1987 and realized ten times the budget savings initially estimated.
“Canada’s replacement of the one-dollar bank note with a circulation coin, and later the introduction of the two-dollar coin, can be deemed a success, from the perspective of the Mint and all end-users of Canadian currency,” noted Beverley Lepine, Chief Operating Officer of the Royal Canadian Mint.
Today’s hearing was chaired by Congressman David Schweikert (R-AZ-5), cosponsor of the Currency Optimization, Innovation and National Savings (COINS) Act (H.R. 2977) and comes at a time when Congress is considering options for avoiding the fiscal cliff and addressing the federal budget deficit.
The COINS Act (H.R. 2977 and S. 2049) was introduced earlier this year by a bipartisan group including Congressman Schweikert, Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), John McCain (R-AZ), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Mike Enzi (R-WY) and is designed to save the country billions of dollars by eliminating the wasteful, inefficient $1 note.
Testimony from today’s witnesses can be found at www.dollarcoinalliance.org.
About Dollar Coin Alliance
The Dollar Coin Alliance is a coalition of small businesses, budget watchdogs, transit agencies, and labor groups dedicated to saving American taxpayers billions of dollars by transitioning to a one-dollar coin, and focused on educating taxpayers and policy-makers about the benefits of increasing dollar coin circulation. For more information, or to get involved, please visit www.DollarCoinAlliance.org.