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Millions of California Democrats Back Public Banking

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This week, Alameda County Democratic Party, San Mateo County Democratic Party and Sonoma County Democratic Party added their names to the long list of Democratic governing bodies endorsing Assembly Bill 857, the Public Banking Act. This follows past endorsements by the California Democratic Party, 550 delegates of the California Democratic Party, as well as Contra Costa, Fresno, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz County Democratic Parties.

Democrats statewide realize the importance of establishing a public banking option for municipalities. Currently, local jurisdictions are forced by the limitations of local banks and credit unions to entrust their funds to Wall Street banks. These are the very same banks that drove the US and global economies to the edge of collapse in 2008 with their greedy speculation and, often fraudulent, banking practices.

AB 857 directs the state of California to establish charter requirements that will guarantee the safety of public funds so cities and counties can open public banks if they choose to. These public banks will have defined investment goals to benefit their communities by funding construction of affordable housing, cost-saving green infrastructure and other community needs. Public monies that currently fund favorites of Wall Street such as oil pipelines, private prisons and luxury housing developments will be diverted to supporting the needs of our communities neglected by investors for so long.

AB 857 stands a very good chance of passing during this session of the state legislature. It has passed all but one committee in the state Assembly and Senate. It should move through Senate Appropriations in late August, then it goes back to both houses for confirmation by September 13.

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We are a coalition of public banking activists representing 10 cities in CA, working to create socially and environmentally responsible local public banks.

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