U.S. Representative Jared Polis

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Polis Applauds Treasury for Suspending Dollar Coin Production

Decision in Keeping with COINS Act’s Cut in Government Waste

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Washington, December 13, 2011 | comments

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) today applauded the Treasury Department’s decision to cease the wasteful production of Presidential dollar coins. Polis introduced the Cutting Out Inefficient and Needless Spending (COINS) Act to reform the wasteful Presidential $1 Coin program, which has forced Federal Reserve banks to spend $3.65 million transporting and storing unused coins due to the public’s lack of interest in using dollar coins. The announcement was made as part of the Obama administration’s Campaign to Cut Waste. According to the Treasury Department, this action will save at least $50 million annually over the next several years.

“The Federal government cannot afford, and the American people will not abide, wasteful spending on programs like this. A taxpayer dollar wasted is one that can’t be used to cut taxes for the middle class, to invest in our classrooms, or to reduce our crushing deficit. The administration made the right decision to stop wasting money producing and storing dollar coins that no one wants to use.”

The Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 required the Mint to begin producing $1 coins bearing the images of former presidents in the order they served in office. Since 2007, the Mint has produced four presidential coins each year. The Federal Reserve has ordered more than 2 billion coins from the Mint. At a cost of 32 cents per coin, production of the $1 Presidential coins has cost more than $640 million. Under the Department’s new policy, collectors will still be able to access coins directly through the U.S. Mint.

According to a June 2011 report from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, interest in the coins has declined precipitously. As a result, excess quantities of unused coins have piled up, forcing Federal Reserve Banks to transport the coins—at a cost of over $3 million—to a new $650,000 storage facility, which was built at taxpayer expense. The facility will store over $1.2 billion in $1 coins, an increase of $1.1 billion since the start of the presidential coin program.

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