(Washington, D.C) – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., joined a bipartisan group of senators this week in introducing legislation that would phase out the $1 paper bill and replace it with a $1 coin as a way to save taxpayer’s millions of dollars and reduce the federal deficit.
“Change can be difficult, but changing to more change could really result in savings for our deficit-strapped government. Doing things as we’ve always done has contributed to our debt. We’ve got to latch on to any reasonable handhold we can find in order to climb out of this hole,” Enzi said.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has advocated for this change for more than two decades as a way to help reduce government spending. Senator Enzi joined Senators Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) in introducing the legislation.
There are numerous reasons why the for the Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings (COINS) Act should be considered:
•The GAO has examined this issue five times (in 1990, 1993, 1995, 2000 and 2011) and has reached the same conclusion – the U.S. should transition away from a $1 note and move to a $1 coin. The numbers vary in each report, but the GAO has estimated savings of anywhere from nearly $200 million to more than half a billion dollars saved per year by making the transition.
•In addition, virtually every modern economy has made this switch to higher denomination coins. Most major western countries in the world have made this transition without so much as a ripple of impact to businesses or consumers. All saved a great deal of money by doing so. In fact, according to reports from the Canadian government, when they moved to the $1 “Loonie” coin 25 years ago, the country saved at a rate ten times initial government projections. Countries with coins worth more than a dollar include Canada, Great Britain, Japan, the Euro Zone, Australia, Switzerland and others.
•The dollar coin will save money for those engaged in a large number of transactions like large retail stores, vending machines operators and transit agencies. A study by the Philadelphia Transit Agency, for example, showed that it was three and one half times cheaper to process coins than notes.
•The $1 coin is durable and environmentally-friendly. Most dollar bills currently in circulation were made within the last three years. Dollar coins officially last 30 years. To put it another way, a single dollar coin can do the job of at least 17 dollar bills over the course of its lifetime. When the coin, which is made almost exclusively from existing scrap metal, gets pulled from circulation, it is 100 percent recyclable. In contrast, the government disposes of 7,600 tons – that’s 15.2 million pounds – of currency paper each year.
The COINS Act is supported by the Dollar Coin Alliance, a coalition of American small businesses, budget watchdogs, trade associations and private companies with a singular focus of moving the United States toward an economical, environmentally friendly dollar coin.
The introduced bill is a companion to the COINS Act in the House, HR 2977, introduced by Congressman David Schweikert (R-AZ). The House bill currently has the bipartisan support of eleven co-sponsors.