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Issue Date: Vol. 52, No. 12, December 2012, Posted On: 11/30/2012

U.S. Government Accountability Office Endorses Dollar Coins At Nov. 29 Hearing

Marcus Webb
TAGS: dollar coin, $1 coin, U.S. Mint, Royal Canadian Mint, Government Accounting Office, GAO report, Lorelei St. James, paper currency, vending, vending business, vending machine, vending machine business, payment systems, coin-op news, amusement business, American Amusement Machine Association, The Future of Money: Dollars and Sense, House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy.

WASHINGTON -- The Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan branch of the U.S. Treasury, told Congress in a Nov. 29 hearing that switching from dollar bills to dollar coins would save significant money for taxpayers.

During the hearing, the GAO director for physical infrastructure issues, Lorelei St. James, said in a statement, "We continue to believe that the government would receive a financial benefit from making the replacement."

St. James acknowledged that dollar coins remain unpopular with the majority of citizens according to most public opinion polls.

Her remarks came during a session entitled "The Future of Money: Dollars and Sense," and convened before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy.

The GAO has previously gone on record with its analysis showing that while switching from banknotes to coins would cost taxpayers more in the short run, it would create savings in the billions of dollars after the first decade. | SEE STORY

Additional witnesses included current and former directors of the U.S. Mint and the chief operating officer of the Canadian Mint, who was expected to testify that eliminating Canada's one-dollar banknote in favor of the famous Loonie coin 25 years ago was both profitable and strongly popular among Canadians.

The U.S. coin machine industry has lobbied for dollar coins, and in favor of eliminating the dollar bill, for decades. Currently, promoting the benefits of the high-denomination coins is the top issue for the American Amusement Machine Association during its leadership's quarterly trips to Capitol Hill.

The Amusement and Music Operators Association, a staunch supporter of the dollar coin in the past, has recently taken a neutral stance on the issue in light of membership survey results indicating decidedly mixed opinions.

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