CALIFORNIA OPENS THE PUBLIC BANKING FLOODGATES

When you pay state and local taxes, parking fees and other payments to your regional government, chances are those funds will almost immediately end up in a corporate bank. 

For instance, until recently the majority of these payments to the city of Los Angeles were held by Wells Fargo, a bank that has routinely paid out millions of dollars in fines and settlements due to predatory lending, foreclosure abuses and defrauding investors. Although the Los Angeles City Council voted in December 2017 to divest from Wells Fargo, the city must still use the banking services of JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America, which are among the largest financiers of fossil fuel industry. That’s in large part because the city has lacked the option of chartering its own public banks.

That changed on October 2, when the California Public Banking Act was signed into law by the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, making it explicitly legal for municipalities in California to create their own public banks and use those banks to hold and leverage public funds. 

Continue reading in Common Dreams.

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