A progressive coalition on Monday vowed to push forward on a bill that would strengthen public banking in New York after the proposal fell short of passage during the legislative session.
The bill would have created a regulatory framework for municipalities to create local public banks in order to extend and expand access to communities of color in the post-COVID-19 economy.
“The NY Public Banking Act would pave the way for local public banks that would invest in permanently affordable housing, small and worker-owned businesses, and other equitable development in low-income communities and communities of color–while enabling cities and counties to divest public deposits from banks that actively harm New Yorkers, our economy and the planet," the New Economy Project said in a statement. “The NYS Community Equity Agenda will continue to fight, alongside public banking advocates across the state, to make public banking a reality."
The measure during the legislative session had won the backing of organized labor and community groups in New York. It would have expanded publicly held banking institutions in under served communities, and have the goals of racial justice, community-backed development and sustainability written into their charter.
Similar regulations for community public banks have been established in California, and the New York proposal would have ended a requirement in state law that public banks apply for commercial charters.
The NYS Community Agenda, which had called for the measure's approval, plans to continue to push lawmakers to approve the bill even as it counted multiple progressive victories over the last six months, such as tax increases on upper income earners and the legalization of cannabis.
"As the legislative session wound down, legislators once again tried to sneak through a bill that would have helped check cashers extract even more money from communities of color. Instead, the legislature should have been laser focused on policies that build wealth in hard hit communities, such as public banking," the group said.