The Bellingham City Council unanimously approved a resolution in support of a state bank in Washington. This follows on the heels of a December presentation on the benefits of public banking (see Q&As document below) by the bill’s main sponsor, Sen Bob Hasegawa of Seattle.The council’s resolution reads in part:
“...a state bank owned by and for the people of Washington State would provide greater transparency and lower borrowing and bonding costs to the state and local governments, compared to private for-profit lending; and a state bank would support community banks, absorb debt capacity, avert long-term debt payments to Wall Street, and keep taxpayer dollars in Washington state…”
Fiscal conservatives should find gold in the creation of a public bank as they are always looking to save money. Right? The resolution continues:
”...public financing through a Washington State bank could substantially lower financing and debt service costs to the City of Bellingham, saving costs for taxpayers, while providing the same borrowing capacity and fiscal predictability to the City…”
Unfortunately the banking bill, SB5995, did not make it out of committee this legislative session. The long promised business plan for the Washington Investment Trust (the formal name for the bank) that was due to the legislature by June 2019 was not completed by the Evans School of Policy and Government. According to Sen. Hasegawa’s office, the study will eventually be taken up again, building upon the work already done by the Evans School. It is unclear why the school didn’t complete the study or what entity may eventually complete the plan.
Next steps here in Whatcom County should be similar resolutions from the Whatcom County Council and the smaller cities such as Ferndale, Blaine, Lynden and even the Port Commission.
As is said in a recent set of television commercials, “It’s your money, use it when you need it!