Mason residents react to Canadian penny legislation

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By Cody Harrell
Mason Times staff writer

MASON—Citizens working cash registers in Mason are not looking forward to the U.S. Mint’s consideration to stop penny production.

Mason storeowners and residents are considering the benefits of abandoning the penny in response to the national debate over currency expenses.

Kean’s General Store owner Theresa Wren doesn’t see the value of keeping pennies around.

“All of the product that is marked as $9.99 or $3.49 would just be rounded up and easier to read.”

A Chicago Tribune article published Feb. 5 addressed the debate concerning the recent decision by Canadian legislatures to discard the penny as legal tender. The report also described the new formalities for transactions. When paying in cash, the cashier will round the total to the nearest nickel and when paying electronically, they will keep the price to the nearest cent, abandoning any need for the penny.

The Daily Scoop Ice Cream Shop owner Shawn Fodman said: “I round things up to the nearest nickel already. I have a program so the end price ends on a nickel, unless it’s a pre-priced item.”

Wren, who wasn’t aware of Canada’s recent legislation, sees herself grabbing from the “take a penny, leave a penny” tray to help customers in a majority of her transactions during the day for her “penny candy.”

While Wren agrees that Canada’s decision was in good faith for the country, she worries that it will increase a gap between the older and younger generations.

“[Old folks] probably couldn’t imagine what they would do without the penny,” Wren said. “However, the young kids only use their debit cards nowadays, so they won’t care either way.”

According to the U.S. National Mint website, the price to produce a penny has reached a high of 2.41 cents. The website also shows the percentage of circulating coin production each year in the U.S. Last year alone, nearly 6 billion pennies made up 64 percent of the number of coins produced and circulating.

Fodman still sees validity in keeping the penny around for circulation to keep money flowing through the economy at a constant rate.

“I don’t see it going away,” Fodman said. “I don’t think it would necessarily help the economy, and is a minute thing in the grand scheme of things.”

Baleigh Morey, employee at the Mason BP gas station, is against abolishing the penny because it helps local charities around the nation.

“Our BP has a change jar on the counter to support the local animal shelter,” Morey said. “With all of the jars floating around for children, scholarships and animals, anything helps—even the penny.”

Morey added that she is concerned with the added tax dollars when you round a price ending in $0.99, and the layering effect this could have over the course of a year.

City Limits Sports Grille owner Val Orlando isn’t worried about the penny, as he has confidence in his small business to move through tough economic times.

“Small businesses are always trying to figure it out,” Orlando said. “That’s what’s great about small business.
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