Press Release: Government Accountability Office Again Advocates Transition to $1 Coin
Annual Report on Waste Finds Eliminating $1 Bill Would Save Taxpayers Billions
Washington, D.C. (February 28, 2012) The Dollar Coin Alliance, a coalition of small businesses, budget watchdogs, transit agencies and labor groups, today endorsed the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) continued recommendation to eliminate the $1 bill and transition to a $1 coin to save the country billions of dollars. The report, which finds several dozen areas where the country could save money through increased government efficiency, states, “Legislation replacing the $1 Note with $1 coin would provide a significant financial benefit to the government over time.”
In the introduction to the 423-page report, “Opportunities to Reduce Duplication, Overlap and Fragmentation, Achieve Savings, and Enhance Revenue,” Comptroller General of the United States Gene L. Dodaro notes, “This body of work can help to inform government policymakers as they address the fiscal pressures facing our national government.” The report identifies 51 areas where government programs may achieve greater efficiencies and lists 19 opportunities to enhance revenue or increase government savings, including the $1 coin transition. On page 273, the report states, “The GAO has reported five times over the past 22 years that replacing the $1 note with a $1 coin would provide a net benefit to government of hundreds of millions of dollars annually.”
This builds on recent studies conducted by GAO that found the $1 coin transition would save the country at least $4.4 billion over a 30-year period, or $146 million per year. This finding is consistent with five previous studies issued by GAO over the past 22 years (in 1990, 1993, 1995, 2000, and 2011) indicating savings of anywhere from $184 million to $522 million per year.
“After 22 years and half a dozen reports, it is time for Congress to finally listen to the GAO and eliminate the wasteful $1 bill,” said Tom Schatz, President of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste and member of the Dollar Coin Alliance. “The economical $1 coin provides billions in savings without cutting a single program or raising a single tax.”
The report was discussed today during a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing which featured as a witness Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), an original co-sponsor of the Currency Optimization, Innovation and National Savings (COINS) Act (S. 2049), a bill designed to save the country billions of dollars by eliminating the wasteful, inefficient $1 note. The COINS Act was introduced last month by a bipartisan group including Senator Coburn, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY)
The COINS Act would require Federal Reserve Banks to stop issuing the $1 note four years after enactment of the legislation or when circulation of $1 coins exceeds 600 million annually – whichever comes first. This measure is necessary based on the experience of every country that has successfully transitioned away from low denomination paper currency. This is a companion bill 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 twelve co-sponsors.
A January 2011 poll conducted by the bipartisan pairing of the Tarrance Group with Hart Research Associates, found that Americans favor the transition to a dollar coin by a two-to-one margin once the potential government savings are explained. This is consistent with findings from a 2002 Gallup survey cited by the Government Accountability Office. In that poll, 55 percent of respondents said they would favor replacing the dollar note with the dollar coin once savings were highlighted.
Members of the Dollar Coin Alliance include Citizens Against Government Waste, the International Association of Machinists, the National Bulk Vendors Association, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Tri-State Automatic Merchandising Council and United Steelworkers.
For more information, or to get involved, please visit www.DollarCoinAlliance.org.