Last week, Arizona became the latest state to advance a public banking bill out of committee in its state legislature. Like most initial public banking bills, this legislation mandates a task force with the aim of recommendations and feasibility pronouncements. It won't get us a North Dakota-style public bank tomorrow, but it's a strong start, particularly given the strength of the 6-1 committee vote.
In Arizona, S.B. 1301, which "creates a task force" "to examine the feasibility of establishing a state-owned bank in Arizona", passed the Senate Financial Institutions Committee on Wednesday, February 17, on a 6-1 vote. This means it will be debated by the State Senate.
Sources tell me that the Arizona legislature has an online "Request to Speak" platform, and the only "thumbs down" came from the Arizona Bankers Association, a group that, unlike community bankers in North Dakota, has been led to believe (undoubtedly through the lobbying of big banks like Wells Fargo) that a state-owned bank would compete with, and not help, small banks in the state.
In fact, North Dakota has more community banks per capita than any other state--precisely because of the support of the BND.
The state of Arizona, like so many other states, pays hundreds of millions of dollars per year in interest on its debts. Its pension funds pay hundreds of millions in management fees and private commissions to its Wall Street managers. Not coincidentally, last year, the state slashed millions from education, social services, and public health care.
We'll keep you posted on 1301.