Why a public bank? When municipalities fund infrastructure through deals with investment banks, that means higher costs, which are passed on to residents and local business owners through usage fees or in the form of higher rents or prices. As Oakland CA public bank activists document, this can have a devastating effect when those fees make a basic human need–in this case, water–unaffordable.
California Treasurer John Chiang recently said that the state’s Cannabis Working Group will discuss public banking as a possible way of allowing licensed marijuana producers to access financial services for an industry that the federal government still considers illegal, though he has also said that he doesn’t support the idea of creating a state bank just for that purpose. It’s clear from this video, however, that regardless of how California establishes a public bank, there is a tremendous need for a more economical and flexible way of financing municipal infrastructure there.