New Mexico Moves Forward on Public Banking

As our supporters know, the Public Banking Institute played an important role in organizing and presenting at the September 2014 Santa Fe conference, which spurred the Santa Fe City Council and Mayor Javier Gonzales to move forward on public banking in the city. We are happy to report that Santa Fe is one step closer to a public bank: on January 28, the City Council voted to approve a feasibility study for such a bank.

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Coloradans Want Public Banks

Although Coloradans have been campaigning for public banks at the state and city levels since at least 2011, the movement has now taken off in full force. On January 31, the group Be the Change-USA sponsored a public banking conference with more than 120 attendees, moderated by Denver city officials and community bankers, and featuring speakers such as Ellen Brown, Mike Krauss, Gwen Hallsmith, and Nomi Prins.

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Maine to Consider Public Bank Bill

In Maine, a hearing has been scheduled for next week to consider a bill creating a state public bank and authorizing counties and municipalities to create their own banks.

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Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership a Danger to Public Banks?

Many people fear that secretive trade talks with corporate lobbyists may prohibit public rights to control common assets.

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New Mexico One Step Closer to a Public Bank

In September 2014, a well-attended public banking conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which the Public Banking Institute helped to organize, ended with a call to action for the city to explore the feasibility of a public bank. Speakers at the conference included Mayor Javier Gonzales, Richard Wolff, Ellen Brown, Gwen Hallsmith, Thomas Keidel, Alan Webber, Mike Krauss, and Craig Barnes.

Now, the city is moving forward.

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Public Banking: It's About the Movement, About the Demand

Alexis Goldstein's excellent coverage of the culmination of Vermont's struggle for a public bank raises a vital point about being in a movement. In Vermont, advocates didn't get (haven't yet gotten) the holy grail of a bonafide public bank. But the compromise they facilitated still constituted a win over big Wall Street banks.

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Toronto to Host Public Banking Seminar at City Hall Saturday, January 24

While public banking advocates in the United States have been busy in New Mexico, Washington, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Vermont, and several other states, activists north of the border are doing their work as well. This Saturday, they will hold a free public seminar in TorontoKristyn Wong-Tam to discuss money, economic justice, and the public bank solution.

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EU Showdown: Greece Takes on the Vampire Squid

Greece and the troika (the International Monetary Fund, the EU, and the European Central Bank) are in a dangerous game of chicken. The Greeks have been threatened with a Cyprus-Style prolonged bank holidayif they “vote wrong.” But they have been bullied for too long and are saying “no more.”

A return to the polls was triggered in December, when the Parliament rejected Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ pro-austerity candidate for president. In a general election, now set for January 25th, the EU-skeptic, anti-austerity, leftist Syriza party is likely to prevail. Syriza captured a 3% lead in the polls following mass public discontent over the harsh austerity measures Athens was forced to accept in return for a €240 billion bailout.

Austerity has plunged the economy into conditions worse than in the Great Depression. As Professor Bill Black observes, the question is not why the Greek people are rising up to reject the barbarous measures but what took them so long.

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Ferguson, Alienation, and City Budgets: Fleece the Poor, or Democratize Finance?

The elephant in the room is almost always an economic elephant.

The unrest in Ferguson, Missouri following both the shooting of Michael Brown and the failure of a grand jury to indict the police officer who shot him was, in a large part, contextualized by Ferguson's model of city financing. Now it seems city officials are unwilling to learn from history. While the city's policy of generating a substantial portion of its revenue from petty fines contributed to alienation and unrest in the city even before the shooting of Brown, Ferguson is doubling down on using tickets and fines to generate municipal revenue.

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Seattle's Groundbreaking City Council is Considering Another Groundbreaking Idea: A Public Bank

As a direct result of Wall Street mismanagement and federal complacency, communities have lost the ability to finance local, sustainable growth and public services. This is a direct threat to democracy, because the chief conduit of democracy in American society is the ability of cities and towns to facilitate public participation, health, security, and civic life. 
Seattle is at the forefront of cities taking back democracy. Seattle’s city council knows that the antecedents of democracy are material -- the ability to provide services, the ability to absorb the impact of economic shifts, the ability to make citizens feel invested in their communities.
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