Big changes could affect what happens to funds raised by sales
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/04/2012 -- The Republicans introduced legislation on September 21 that may have a large impact on the way that U.S. commemorative coin programs functions. If they are successful and the legislation is passed into law, it would “require that any funds raised by such coins beyond the cost to recoup production expenses would go toward deficit reduction rather than allow a portion to go towards private nonprofit groups that currently receive a surcharge from the sale of such coins,” according to Coin Week.
Under the current program guidelines, experts say that private entities that “promote the issuance of the coins,” receive only a very small amount of the funds from the sales. The funds mainly go to support programs that affect a large number of American’s in most cases. The Commemorative Coins Reform Act introduced by Senator Jim DeMint and Representative Justin Amash would change the practice of adding a surcharge to the coins cost, which has been used since 1982 for all coins authorized by congress.
The U.S. Mint’s website states that since 1982 over $418 million has been made for the various organizations that promote the people, places and events promoted on the coins. Under the current legislation, each silver dollar for instance includes a surcharge of about $10 or 20%, gold coins about a 7% surcharge or about $35. Clad half dollars which are rarely issued come with a $5 surcharge.
These coins are big business, but some claim that the monies raised are done in an unfair manner and for political gain. They contest it is not just to support the charities and causes that the coins are supposedly made for. The new legislation would also help with the selection of topics that coins represent and would reduce the “incentive for private organizations to pursue topics for commemorative coins that might not be the most nationally significant for a particular year,” according to Michael Zielinski of CoinUpdate.
The bill would also prevent any “backdoor” dealings to get by the congressional ban on earmarks or provisions that are added to bills by members of congress that “seek to provide funding for projects in that member’s congressional district,” according to DeMInt. This would only further prevent private entities from profiting off of coin sales in the U.S.
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