FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from California Public Banking Alliance
August 28, 2019
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Bernie Sanders Endorses Public Banking Act
Sanders campaign declares support for AB 857 ahead of Senate vote
SACRAMENTO — Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders announced his support for California’s Public Banking Act (AB 857) this morning, sharing a Twitter post from the California Public Banking Alliance just days ahead of the bill’s final Senate committee vote.
“It makes a lot more sense to me for cities and states to establish banks that invest in local communities instead of handing over taxpayer dollars to Wall Street banks whose business model is fraud,” Sanders wrote on Twitter.
Sanders retweeted a post from the California Public Banking Alliance (CPBA), the sponsor of AB 857, which represents public banking activists across 10 cities and regions in the state.
“We’re inspired by Sen. Sanders’ leadership on this issue,” said Sushil Jacob, senior economic justice attorney at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, a CPBA founding member. “Democratically accountable banks provide a crucial alternative to predatory Wall Street megabanks. AB 857 will bring us one step closer to breaking their stranglehold on California’s public deposits and reinvesting in what’s best for our communities – not Wall Street’s bottom line.”
Sanders’ support comes after a week of endorsements from city governments, labor, environmental groups, and Democratic central committees, including Alameda, Monterey, San Mateo, and Sonoma County Democratic Parties. AB 857 has been endorsed by the California Democratic Party and the Contra Costa, Fresno, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz County Democratic Parties.
AB 857, authored by Assemblymembers David Chiu (SF) and Miguel Santiago (LA), directs the state to establish charter requirements that will guarantee the safety of public funds so cities and counties can open public banks. Currently, local jurisdictions are forced by the limitations of local banks and credit unions to entrust their funds to the same Wall Street banks which drove the U.S. and global economies to the edge of collapse in 2008 through greedy speculation and widespread mortgage fraud.
Under the public banking model, public dollars that currently fund Wall Street favorites like oil pipelines, private prisons and luxury housing developments will be diverted to supporting community needs like affordable housing and green infrastructure.
“It’s pretty obvious that the Wall Street system of wealth distribution has created an income inequality crisis, and nowhere is that more visible than right here in my district, where luxury condos loom over Skid Row,” said Assemblymember Santiago. “Instead of making rich men even richer, our resources should be invested in community development: parks and green spaces, free community college, new schools, smooth roads, and cleaner air.”
The Public Banking Act has already passed five of six committees needed in the state Assembly and Senate. It is expected to move through Senate Appropriations by the end of the month, then will go back to both houses for final confirmation by September 13.
The California Public Banking Alliance (CPBA) is a coalition of public banking activists in California working to create socially and environmentally responsible city and regional public banks. Learn more at www.californiapublicbankingalliance.org.