Santiago and Chiu Introduce AB 857 to Pave Way for Public Banks

News from California Public Banking Alliance
March 11, 2019

Santiago and Chiu Introduce AB 857 to Pave Way for Public Banks 
Move would restore economic power to communities

Press Contact:
Sylvia Chi
(443) 977-4992

LOS ANGELES/SAN FRANCISCO – Asm. Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) and Asm. David Chiu (D-San Francisco) held press conferences in their respective districts on Monday to introduce a new bill that will make it easier to establish regional and municipal public banks throughout the state of California.

The California Public Banking Alliance (CPBA) is sponsoring the legislation. CPBA designed the bill to provide localities a flexible framework for establishing public banks with appropriate terms, exceptions, and constraints.

“Public banking is one way we can start restoring economic power to our communities,” said Sushil Jacob, Senior Staff Attorney for Economic Justice with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, one of CPBA’s founding members. “Wall Street banks routinely deny small business owners of color access to the credit they need to grow their businesses. When business owners of color do manage to get these loans, the fees and interest rates are often higher. These discriminatory patterns must end and the City can lead the way in providing an alternative.”

AB 857 will mobilize capital to take on the affordable housing goals that Assemblymembers Santiago and Chiu have already come together to champion.

“The public’s money should be used for public good. Time and time again, we have seen big banks invest our money in institutions most Californians are opposed to–oil pipelines, gun manufacturers, private prisons, and companies with unfair labor practices. This legislation allows us to take a first step towards ensuring the public’s money is reinvested in our local communities,” said Asm. David Chiu in a statement released this week.

Asm. Miguel Santiago released the following statement, “It’s pretty obvious that the Wall Street system of wealth distribution has created an income inequality crisis and nowhere is that more visible than right here in my district, where luxury condos loom over Skid Row. Instead of making rich men even richer, our resources should be invested in community development: parks and green spaces, free community college, new schools, smooth roads, and cleaner air. With AB 857 we’re laying the groundwork for a financial system that will give Californians access to capital they can afford, and empower communities to invest in projects that improve everyone’s quality of life.”

Around the country, as political discourse escalates on how to fund ambitious proposals for social equity and environmental justice, AB 857 may be one of the most important bills to watch. This legislation will pave the way for reducing the cost of living in California.

“Wall Street Bank are financing climate destruction and they are doing it with our tax dollars,” said Doug Norlen, Director of the Economic and Policy Program at Friends of the Earth. “Public banks can invest our money into sustainable community projects right here in California instead of lining the pockets of Wall Street and Big Oil.”

CPBA is a coalition of grassroots public banking advocacy groups pushing for regional and municipally-owned public banks across California. Member groups include the San Francisco Public Bank Coalition, Public Bank Los Angeles, Public Bank East Bay, South Bay Progressive Alliance, Public Bank Santa Barbara, Public Bank San Diego, People for Public Banking Santa Cruz, Orange County Public Banking Coalition, and Friends of Public Banking Santa Rosa. Beneficial State Foundation, Friends of the Earth, and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area are also members of CPBA.