Across our nation, municipal, county and state governments struggle year after year to balance their budgets, using the same old tools to meet this challenge: raise taxes, take on more debt, cut vital services, layoff or ask for employee givebacks. Almost always these choices subtract from economic prosperity.
History shows that a public bank would add to our economic prosperity. The historical model I speak of is the nearly 100-year-old public Bank of North Dakota. As a result, North Dakota has been the only state in America which has run in the black every single year since the state bank went into effect in 1920.
Annual returns of substantial profits to the general fund as non-tax revenue can refinance existing state debt at near-zero interest rates and reduce the debt service for which we are taxed. Instead of expensive bond issues or increases in sales or property taxes, a public bank can provide low-cost loans to our school districts, counties, and local governments for critically needed infrastructure and jobs creation projects.
Best of all, we get to keep the interest paid on those loans right here in our own bank at much lower costs, safe from the risk takers of the mega banks on Wall Street interested first in profit for themselves before all else.
You’ll find more information about this concept on the Public Banking Institute website.
Perhaps the time has come for Illinois to take Wall Street out of the equation.
I’m David Soll, and that’s my perspective.