State Bank movement is growing

April 8th, 2011 by shughes

State Bank supporters from all over the state packed legislative hearing rooms in support of the state bank.

The Working Families Party has played a leading role in Oregonians for a State Bank, a coalition of organizations representing small business owners, family farmers, community bankers, and advocacy organizations from around the state calling for the creation of a publicly owned bank modeled after the highly successful, 92 year old bank of North Dakota.

The State of Oregon sends literally billions of our tax dollars out of state in the form of deposits into the same Wall Street banks that crashed our economy.  The Oregon State Bank would bring our money back to Oregon.  It would work in partnership with community banks to invest in Oregon’s small businesses and family farmers so they can start creating jobs again.

Corvallis residents gather to learn about the state bank. The local paper covered the forum.

The idea is picking up a real head of steam.  On April 30th, overflow crowds packed hearing rooms in the state capitol.  People traveled to Salem for the hearings from literally every corner of the state–from Union to Newport, Portland to Medford–to observe (and testify) as legislators considered  House Bill 3452 and Senate Bill 889.  These bills would create what Ted Wheeler refers to as a “virtual” state bank, a critical first step toward creating a mechanism that can bring our money home and cut our state’s dependence on Wall Street.

We have also held  public forums about the state bank all accross the state.  We already have seven forums under our belt, and have more scheduled for Newport, Roseburg and Bend in the next week and a half.  These forums are co-sponsored by the Working Families Party, the Main Street Alliance of Oregon, and Oregon Action, and they are being organized by grassroots activists in their respective communities.

The media has started to notice as well.  Here is some of our recent coverage:

  • In the Eugene Register-Guard: “Bills to create state finance board come into limelight. Proponents say it would stimulate economic recovery by unlocking state financing for Oregon businesses.”
  • Also in the Eugene Register-Guard, a great Op-Ed by one of our supporters, Scott Frost: “An Oregon state bank is the answer for struggling farmers.”
  • The Salem Statesman Journal published “Legislature hears two bills that would alter lending”
  • And the Associated Press ran an article, “Ore. ponders investing state funds in local firms,” that appeared inForbes, Bloomberg Business Week, Yahoo! Finance, and papers around the state

As you can see a lot is going on!  The State Bank campaign is truly a grassroots movement for economic sovereignty, and the people of Oregon are showing we are more than up to the task!

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