States Could Open Their Own Banks, But Shrivel Parks

States are taking positive action when it comes to banks but they’re not doing so well on their public parks.

State Banks

The "Move Your Money" campaign is reaching new levels as states across the country are looking at opening banks of their own.

17 states have introduced bills for state-owned banks, and others are in the works, according to Ellen Brown, head of the Public Banking Institute.

Over 600,000 people have moved their money out of the largest banks and deposited in local banks instead.

But states have a lot more money and they’re thinking out of the box on where it’s best invested.

When a state puts its money in the big banks, they use it to speculate, invest abroad and buy up local banks. Why not keep the money in-state thorugh their own banks?

Virginia, Hawaii, Washington State, and California have completed feasibility studies for state-owned banks and now have bills to actually establish banks. California’s bill was introduced February 24th.

North Dakota is the model – which has the only publicly owned bank in the country, since 1919.

The Bank of North Dakota is one reason why the state has thrived through the recession. All state revenues flow into the Bank and back to the state in the form of loans.

Those loans service students, agriculture and energy in the state and all the profits go to the state.

A bill in Hawaii would establish a state bank which would buy foreclosed homes and then rent or sell them back to the original owner at reasonable terms.

An Arizona bill, which just unanimously passed the Senate Banking Committee (S.1451), would refinance mortgages for the 500,000 homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments but are underwater because their mortgage exceeds the value of the property.

States Cut Public Parks

One of the biggest losers in state budget cuts are their parks.

States are closing many parks, slashing hours and services at others, or simply handing over the public’s asset to profiteering corporations, notes Jim Hightower.

More than 6,600 of these jewels draw some 700 million visitors a year, he says, in America’s most tangible expression of its democratic ideals: common ground for every man, woman, and child to enjoy and experience.

"Yet too many spiritually shriveled, small-minded, and short-sighted state officials are snuffing out this uniting social force, stupidly treating parks as nothing but a budget number or – worse – a piece of the "nanny state" to be axed in the name of ideological purity," bemoans Hightower.

Idaho, which is busy killing two-thirds of its wolf population, wants to eliminate the parks department altogether. Arizona and Florida intend to privatize their parks; Washington state has cut most of its park funding; and Ohio has okayed oil drilling in its parks to replace state financing.

As Woody Guthrie said of outlaws, "Some’ll rob you with a six gun/Some with a fountain pen."

Meanwhile, pollution, invasive species, climate change, energy and land development, and chronic funding shortfalls are endangering our national parks.


See what your state is doing on Public Banks.

Check out the Public Banking Institute, which is holding its first conference on the subject this April in Philadelphia.

Read the full article on public banking:

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