Ernst proposes change to coin-making process to reduce costs

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WASHINGTON (KCRG) - Sen. Joni Ernst has proposed legislation that she said will save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars by changing the way that coins are made in the United States.

Photo: Diana Caballero

The Currency Evolution Now To Save (CENTS) Act would allow the U.S. Mint to adjust the types of metals that go into coins. This would be allowed if the change would save money and not change the "size or functionality" of the coin itself.

Nickels, dimes, quarters, and half-dollars would be eligible for changes.

"Iowa taxpayers are getting nickeled-and-dimed by the increasing costs of certain metals for producing coins," Ernst said, in a statement. "Right now, it costs hardworking taxpayers seven cents to make one nickel. Congress can fix this, and they need to."

The U.S. Mint has requested, and the Government Accountability Office has recommended, that Congress give it the authority to make the changes. It cannot under current laws.

Ernst said that this could save taxpayers more than $150 million in a 10-year span.