Public Banking Has the Potential to Truly Revolutionize Our Economy

by Public Bank LA
in News
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Truthout - November 6, 2021. The public banking movement is gaining groundswell across the nation. An advocate with Philadelphia Public Bank Coalition tells a story of the movement and the grassroots work transforming the financial system from private to public control. Part of that story includes our work here in #LosAngeles and how it set a precedent for the rising national movement. "They did an outreach and social media blitz and got endorsements from hundreds of civic, labor and other community groups. Measure B received over 44 percent of the votes, with 430,488 Angelenos voting yes to a public bank. This was not enough for a win, but an astonishing achievement from a grassroots, volunteer-run campaign with minimal funding — and it laid the foundation for a series of advances in the establishment of a structure for creating public banks throughout California.

"The potential for public banking — or managing taxpayer funds through publicly-controlled financial institutions rather than private banks — first became real to me in the office of my city councilmember in the spring of 2019. A group of us had fanned out through City Hall to speak with every member of the council about the benefits of establishing a Philadelphia Public Bank. The staffer we were chatting with was new to the idea, and grew more and more interested. “The Council person would really like this idea,” he said. “It’s good for the common people. It’s good for the city budget. I’m going to talk with her about it. I think she’ll want to support it.” In that moment the concept of public banking, which I found compelling and had been promoting informally for years, became not just another good idea but an attainable goal.

It’s been a puzzle to know how to best organize around economic issues. Once we’ve identified our economic system — and more particularly the financial system — as the root of so many of our problems, what do we do next? Transforming the economy is too big to easily build campaigns around, and the number of people who can be mobilized purely on ideological grounds are small. While Occupy Wall Street was a great national teach-in on wealth inequality, including a critical understanding of the importance of democracy, it didn’t offer enough focus or program to keep people in motion."

Continue reading on Truthout.

Council Takes Significant Step to Advance Proposal for a Public Bank in LA

by Public Bank LA
in News
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MEDIA ADVISORY

Council Takes Significant Step to Advance Proposal for a Public Bank in LA

A first in a major city, the municipal bank of Los Angeles would create a public source of socially-responsible and democratically accountable investment and financing for public entities, small businesses and green energy projects

WHAT: The City Council today voted unanimously to release a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking qualified consultants to conduct an analysis and study the viability of creating a Public Bank in Los Angeles. Today’s action by the City Council could lead to the formation of a City-owned bank in Los Angeles, the first of its kind in a major metropolitan locality. At 1 p.m., elected officials will be joined by advocates to talk about the importance of this morning’s vote and the significance behind the City having its own financial institution as Los Angeles enters into a post-pandemic recovery phase. LA’s Public Bank would be able to invest in areas such as credit access for small businesses (targeting disadvantaged neighborhoods), helping finance affordable housing, green energy investment and developing credit programs, among other services.

WHO:

  • LA City Councilmember of the Ninth District, Curren Price
  • LA City Councilmember of the Fourth District, Nithya Raman
  • California State Assemblymember of the 53rd District, Miguel Santiago
  • Secretary-Treasurer UFCW Local 770, Kathy Finn
  • Co-founder Public Bank LA and California Public Banking Alliance (CPBA), Trinity Tran
  • Los Angeles Director ACCE, Joe Delgado Executive Director
  • Inclusive Action for the City, Rudy Espinoza 

WHEN: Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 1 p.m.

WHERE: LA City Hall-South Lawn

Download Media Advisory

Public banking movement gaining traction in California

by Public Bank LA
in News
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Capitol Weekly - July 1, 2021 - California cities from Los Angeles to San Francisco to the Central Coast are moving forward with establishing AB 857 public banks. "Los Angeles made progress in its quest for a public bank. In a unanimous vote, the city’s Economic Development and Jobs Committee approved the motion for the formation of the Municipal Bank of Los Angeles."  

San Francisco has taken its first major step toward establishing a public bank, and other California municipalities are also moving forward in exploring public banking, including a regional effort by cities and counties on the Central Coast.  

The moves come nearly two years after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 857, enabling California cities and counties to form public banks. These are locally-controlled financial institutions into which municipal revenues — such as taxes and fees — are deposited. The money is then lent out to small businesses and infrastructure projects, among others, through partnerships with community banks. The goal is to directly benefit residents, while providing not-for-profit services for citizens who choose to use the bank.

A state public bank was formed in North Dakota more than a century ago, although no cities or counties in the nation have public banks. But the California statute reportedly is adding fuel to a nationwide public banking effort.

By law, a public bank in California must be run by banking professionals responsible to a board and overseen by California’s Department of Business Oversight. 

“We finally have the option of reinvesting our public tax dollars in our local communities instead of rewarding Wall Street’s bad behavior,” Assemblyman David Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat and coauthor of AB 857, said at the time of the governor’s signing.

On June 15, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the San Francisco Reinvestment Working Group ordinance. Penned by Supervisor Dean Preston, the ordinance authorizes the creation of a working group made up of financial experts, community members, and representatives of the city’s Controller and Treasurer. 

The working group has one year from its first meeting to create a business plan to present to the Board of Supervisors and Local Agency Formation Commission, which, if approved, will be submitted to the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation. However, before the working group can convene, it must be funded. Currently, there is no money earmarked in the mayor’s proposed budget to support a reinvestment working group. 

The creation of the working group is the latest in San Francisco’s decade-long drive to establish a public bank which includes dozens of hearings, meetings and studies, including last year’s Municipal Bank Feasibility Task Force Report.  That study outlined three possible routes that San Francisco get into public banking, all of which, if approved, will take years to see to fruition.   

Cities and counties on California’s Central Coast are in the starting stages of creating a regional public bank.

Led by Santa Cruz County, resolutions supporting a Central Coast Public Bank viability study have been passed in Monterey and Santa Barbara counties, as well as the cities of Santa Cruz, Capitola, Seaside, Scotts Valley, Del Rey Oaks, and Watsonville.

In a unanimous vote, the city’s Economic Development and Jobs Committee approved the motion for the formation of the Municipal Bank of Los Angeles.

Led by Santa Cruz County, resolutions supporting a Central Coast Public Bank viability study have been passed in Monterey and Santa Barbara counties, as well as the cities of Santa Cruz, Capitola, Seaside, Scotts Valley, Del Rey Oaks, and Watsonville.

Continue reading on Capitol Weekly.

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