June 13, 2019 - 3:52 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — One of our Senators from Iowa is proposing a change to our change — our currency.

Many people online have advocated the elimination of the penny for many reasons, not least of which is because it costs more to make them than they are even worth. Some push the fact that it costs more in time to deal with them than they are worth. Plus, they are so worthless that some people even throw them away rather than dealing with them.

Senator Joni Ernst isn’t suggesting that we get rid of the penny, but she is suggesting some common sense reform. Or perhaps that’s common “cents” reform.

Ernst says it would save over $150 million of taxpayer money if the U.S. Mint were allowed to modify the composition of certain coins.

According to Ernst, it costs taxpayers seven cents to make one nickel. She says Congress can fix this, and they need to. Ernst says that’s why she’s put forward a bill that will allow the Mint the flexibility to use cheaper materials to produce certain coins, without changing the size or functionality of them.

Called the “Currency Evolution Now To Save” or “CENTS” Act, it would give the Treasury Department, specifically the U.S. Mint, the authority to change the composition of the nickel, dime, quarter, and half dollar coins if these changes save taxpayer dollars and do not impact the coins’ size or functionality. These changes would happen under the conditions that (1) the changes reduce the overall cost of minting the coin and (2) the changes do not affect the diameter, weight, and functionality of the coin. She says this could save more than $150 million over 10 years.

In their Fiscal Year 2019 budget justification, the U.S. Mint requested that Congress give it the authority to change the composition of coins in order to save taxpayer money. In addition, a March 2019 watchdog report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office recommended Congress consider providing the U.S. Mint with that authority.

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