Supporters of a measure meant to create public banks in New York state in communities that lack basic financial institutions are making a renewed push this year for plan.
The creation of a public banking system has stalled over the last several years at the Capitol. If approved, it would create public institutions that provide government deposits that could in turn help lead to spending to boost affordable housing, green energy and small businesses.
“By enacting the New York Public Banking Act as part of this year’s budget, we can address the twin crises of housing unaffordability and climate chaos, in ways that promote community ownership and a just transition in frontline communities,” said Tousif Ahsan of New Economy Project, part of a coalition of organizations that have backed the measure. “Public banking is a transformative solution that will enable local governments to divest public dollars from banks that harm New Yorkers and New York communities, and reinvest in low-income, Black, brown, and immigrant neighborhoods.”
Lawmakers in New York first proposed the public banking plan as a way of aiding low-income communites with recovering economically from the effects of the COVID pandemic.
The publicly held banks would have written into their charter the goals of promoting racial justice, community-backed development and sustainability while ending the requirement they hold commercial charters.
California has a similar law on the books.
“The mission of a public bank is to serve the public interest," said state Sen. James Sanders, one of the main sponsors of the measure. "With public banks, we can ensure that taxpayer’s money will be used more cost effectively in financing public infrastructure projects, equitable economic development and job creation, small businesses, expanding homeownership, and other public priorities."