DCA News & Resources


New Economic Analysis Estimates More than $16 Billion in Taxpayer Savings from Currency Reform

70% of Voters Support the Switch to the Dollar Coin Once They Learn Budget Savings

For Immediate Release
March 29, 2017

Contact: Emily David

WASHINGTON, DC – New legislation introduced in the Senate today will reform U.S. currency by modernizing one-dollar currency, reducing the cost of nickel production and suspending the penny. The package of currency reforms is estimated to save taxpayers more than $16 billion.

The Currency Optimization, Innovation, and National Savings (COINS) Act of 2017 legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Mike Enzi (R-WY), Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

“The savings from currency modernization—including the elimination of the penny, changing the nickel and modernizing dollar currency —are substantial,” said former Senator and former Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg (R-NH), the Alliance’s newest co-chair. “It’s time to overhaul our currency and save taxpayers billions through changes few oppose. Other countries have made the switch and have seen a major financial benefit.”

According to a national survey conducted by the bipartisan polling team of Hart Research Associates (D) and Public Opinion Strategies (R) on behalf of the Dollar Coin Alliance, there is broad support for currency reform across the American electorate. The Hart/POS survey, aligning with previous polls, found that 70 percent of voters favor replacing the dollar bill with the dollar coin when they learn the transition could save the government $4.4 billion over the next 30 years, a figure based on an earlier GAO study and in line with previous public surveys. This opinion is shared across the political spectrum: Republicans (74% favor), Democrats (68%), and Independents (65%) see common ground when it comes to replacing the dollar bill with the dollar coin when informed of the GAO’s savings estimate. The Hart/POS survey also found that 77 percent of voters support suspending production of the penny. When told of the savings made by suspending the penny, support jumped to 84 percent.

A bipartisan economic study released today estimates the savings of said currency reform at $16.3 billion. The study, Currency Modernization: More to be Done, was authored by Aaron Klein, former Chief Economist for the Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, and G. William Hoagland, former Staff Director for Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee. The study found that:

• Switching from the dollar bill to the dollar coin would generate savings of $14.8 billion over 30 years. Over the estimated 34-year lifespan for the dollar coin, the net savings would rise to a total of $21.4 billion.
• A change in the composition of the nickel—specifically going to an 80 percent copper and 20 percent nickel alloy composition—would generate at least $5 million in savings annually, according to the Mint’s 2014 annual production levels.
• Without suspending the penny, the current system is likely to produce a net loss to taxpayers of $1 billion or more over the next decade of penny production.
• By eliminating the dollar note, suspending the penny and modernizing the nickel, Congress could save American taxpayers over $16 billion.

“The new Congress should take advantage of currency modernization because it generates billions in budget savings, and reducing waste should be Congress’ top priority,” said former Congressmen Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Tim Penny (D-MN), Co-Chairs of the Dollar Coin Alliance. “We have a common sense change in front of us that the American public supports. We need to act on that.”

Other major countries have benefitted from replacing small-denomination bills with coins. In Canada, the federal government experienced cost savings ten times their initial estimate after eliminating the dollar bill.

About Survey

Hart/POS conducted the national survey of 1,001 registered voters online in late January 2017 on behalf of DCA.

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 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.