California Democratic Party Passes Public Banking Resolution

California Democratic Party Resolutions Committee

On July 15th 2018, the California Democratic Party (CDP) passed a resolution supporting socially and environmentally responsible, state-chartered public banks. The state party resolution is a significant milestone for the public banking movement, as the CDP represents over 8.7 million registered Democrats.

The resolution was originally presented by Feel the Bern Democratic Club, Los Angeles with the support of public banking advocacy group Public Bank LA (PBLA). After passing unanimously through the Los Angeles County Democratic Party in April 2018, the resolution was passed during the California Democratic Party Executive Board meetings in Oakland this weekend.

Public Bank LA co-founder Trinity Tran states, “The California Democratic Party’s resolution endorsement is a significant step to elevate publicly-owned banks as a top priority issue for the mainstream. The solutions to many of the problems that stem from privately-controlled banks can be addressed through public banking. It’s a common sense approach for local-control and self-determination of our public finances.”

Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson and six councilmembers introduced an exploratory public banking motion in July 2017, following the City’s divestment from Wells Fargo bank. Wesson and council members took further action on June 26, 2018, unanimously passing a motion that will add a measure on the November 2018 general election ballot that would amend the city charter, removing a barrier to creating a city-owned bank. This will put the fate of public banking in the hands of Los Angeles voters.

“Thank you to Feel the Bern Democratic Club, the LACDP and the California Democratic Party for passing the resolution in support of public banking,” said Ben Hauck, political director of PBLA. “With the November public banking ballot measure in Los Angeles and the rapidly growing movement across the state, now is the perfect time to retake control of our money from Wall Street and put it back in the hands of Main Street, where it can be reinvested into our local communities.”

Across the nation, 43 pieces of legislation for public banks are being explored through municipal committees and state legislatures. San Francisco created a 16-person Municipal Bank Feasibility Task Force, while Seattle and Washington D.C. have separately earmarked $100,000 for public banking feasibility studies. Lawmakers in New Jersey and Michigan are pushing towards state-owned banks that would extend credit to fund vital public infrastructure projects. Washington State added nearly a half million dollars into their budget to produce a public depository business plan.

The CDP resolution reinforces the growing demand for public banking. Cities and states across the country are seeking ways to better leverage taxpayer dollars and reinvest them in the needs of local communities. Public banking serves that purpose, providing local determination and the opportunity for socially and environmentally responsible investment and financing.

The text of the CDP motion follows below:

WHEREAS, the Los Angeles City Council created a motion in July 2017 calling for a study on a Public Bank of Los Angeles that could redirect funds to affordable housing and other needs of the City; and

WHEREAS, socially responsible Public Banks have the ability to address the needs of the public they serve by returning profits back into the community, including affordable housing, renewable energy, local infrastructure and other public services;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the California Democratic Party supports the creation of state-chartered public banks and calls for such financial entities to responsibly serve the public and the interests of economic, racial and environmental justice.

To learn more about the public banking movement in Los Angeles, visit Public Bank LA and for the statewide campaign visit California Public Banking Alliance.