California Public Banking Alliance Hosts Webinar

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On March 30, the California Public Banking Alliance hosted an open webinar. Guest speakers included Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, LA city councilmember Curren Price, and Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia. Over 140 people joined the webinar.

Trinity Tran, cofounder of CA PBA, opened the meeting by stating it is an incredible moment to see the organization's vision of "responsible and accountable public banks" come alive. Public banking advocates, Tran said, want a "human-centered system."

Santiago, who represents California's 53rd district said public banking advocates  “thought it would be a long term fight." Hundreds of grassroots organizations, the Democratic party, and tweets from Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez helped them take on Wall Street and lobbyists, and with AB 1177, California won the ability to create 10 public municipal banks. 

"Imagine that. A bank that isn't trying to make a profit," Santiago said. He said public banks would serve the people rather than nickle and dime them for overdraft fees. 

LA City Council Member Curren Price said he sees public banking as filling role private banks do not. He envisions them providing assistance to small businesses and first time homebuyers, addressing the housing crisis, and providing the opportunity to invest in more sustainable energy solutions.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia pointed out that we have public libraries, transit, and housing, so public banks are possible. It is "important to prove to the country that we can do it in California," he said.

Attendees in the chat requested speakers address the "nuts and bolts" of public banking including the logistics of deposits.

Marybeth Gardam, Organizer, Convener at US Section of Women's International League for Peace & Freedom shared in the chat, "Deposits in public banks come from public income that comes into cities and states from: court costs, traffic and parking tickets, taxes, license fees, etc. Even employee pension funds can be held at a public bank. All the money that your state normally (NOW) sends out of state to a big Wall Street bank would stay local and work for improvements for the common good locally -- right there at home. This is a huge savings for states and cities."

To get involved and learn more about public banking, visit https://californiapublicbankingalliance.org/contact/ or https://publicbankinginstitute.org.

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