Mesilla Valley, Las Cruces, NM. Photo by Jason Pohafl.
At their first meeting of the year, the Las Cruces City Council voted to join Santa Fe in exploring the feasibility of a state public bank. Michael McDevitt reports in the Las Cruces Sun News that the vote was intended to help build widespread support for a state bank initiative to be introduced in 2021. A memorial measure creating a feasibility study for a New Mexico public bank was introduced in the January 2019 legislative session, sponsored by Las Cruces’ State Sen. Jeff Steinborn, but the Legislature adjourned before the proposal was brought to a vote.
McDevitt explains the rationale for a public bank:
“The revenue earned by the bank goes back to the state and can be reinvested in the state’s priorities such as infrastructure, education or local business. Public banking proponents say not having to pay out big bonuses or dividends to shareholders makes the bank retain more profit. Public banks are able to loan at lower interest rates than commercial lenders since they are not beholden to shareholders, according to a New Mexico-based pro-public banking advocacy group called the Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity.”