The proposal to create a public bank to inject cash into Santa Fe's economy has moved from the mayoral campaign trail to the mayor's office.
Mayor Javier Gonzales said on the campaign trail that his administration would probe the idea of creating a public bank that would turn taxpayer money into low-interest loans for small businesses.
Now the idea is getting attention in a forum held Tuesday, Sept. 23 by the League of Women Voters of Santa Fe County. The forum, says the nonpartisan group, will be a “presentation and educational presentation and discussion of public banking, its possibilities and risks.” It’s at Christus St. Vincent Hospital’s southwest conference room, in the lower entrance near the cafeteria, from 5:30-7:30pm.
Author, playwright and lecturer Craig Barnes, the group says, and state Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, “will describe the history and experience of public, or community, banking, and discuss the possible role of public banks in funding public programs.” The two will answer audience questions, says the group, whose sister organization in Vermont is also conducting a study of a public banks there.Then, a daylong symposium on the topic is planned for Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. That event, hosted by WeArePeopleHere! and the Public Banking Institute, begins at 10:30 am and ends at 9 pm. Gonzales and Barnes are among speakers at the program, whose organizers are charging $40 admission. In early September, Gonzales' administration floated a bid to “further research the feasibility of establishing a publicly owned bank to help finance community projects, reduce risk to public funds in existing financial markets, and provide better financial returns on public investments.” Proposals were due Sept. 8.There’s only one public bank in the nation: the Bank of North Dakota, which says it “administers programs that promote agriculture, commerce and industry.”