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City Council Resolution Supports A Washington Public Bank

Byy On
• In Bellingham,

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!

Attached Files

Comments by Readers

Robert Bystrom

Feb 27, 2020

“Whatcom County Bank.” Has a rather nice ring to it, wouldn’t you say?  It’s like a musical phrase that would lend itself to a unique 5-note ring tone on your phone called “local money,” that sounds like a thriving community. Who in their fiscally aware mind would be against such a thing?  How much did you say it would save us year after year beginning as soon as it is adopted?   How long will it take to get it up and running and open for business once k has been approved?  Who is responsible for organizing the transition project?  Who is in charge of the transition team?   I like the sound of “The Bank of Washington State” better than “Washington State Bank,” but it’s not a deal breaker.  I like Senator Hasegawa’s idea.

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Dick Conoboy

Feb 27, 2020

Robert,

There is not likely to be a Whatcom County Bank, at least in the near future.  Starting on the state level will allow legislators to work out the changes to the RCW that are necessary to allow such a bank to operate.  Whatcom County might not need their own bank as their funds could be on deposit at the state level.  There is no way to calculate the savings at this point.  All will depend on how the bank is set up (its business plan), the investment return, and the amount of money the county, city or port district would place in the bank as each entity would likely earn proportional to its investments in the state bank. 

Glad you like Sen. Hasegawa’s idea.  You can write an tell him so at:  .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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