Support Senate Bill 5553 to create a state bank and support vital infrastructure

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Create the Washington State Investment Trust, Support Vital Infrastructure

Get SB 5553 a Public Hearing – Call the Committee Members
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We need creative solutions to spur investment in Washington State to support infrastructure for schools, stimulate economic development, put more Washingtonians to work and make projects like Solutionary Rail closer to becoming a reality.

The American Society Of Civil Engineers rated 372 of Washington state’s bridges as structurally deficient in 2013. With little investment in vital infrastructure, it’s only gotten worse. If you think this is outrageous, then we need your help.

Senator Bob Hasegawa of the 11th Legislative district has sponsored Senate Bill 5553 to create a state bank that could leverage state accounts to generate funds for critical infrastructure projects.

SB 5553 has been referred to the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance. We NEED YOUR HELP to give SB 5553 a public hearing and move it out of committee!

Please make a call to the committee members and ask them to give SB 5553 a public hearing (make sure to leave a message if you don’t get through)!

Benton, Don (R) : Chair ~ (360) 786-7632
Angel, Jan (R) : Vice Chair ~ (360) 786-7650
Mullet, Mark (D) : Ranking Minority Member ~ (360) 786-7608
Darneille, Jeannie (D) : (360) 786-7652
Fain, Joe (R) : (360) 786-7692
Hobbs, Steve (D) : (360) 786-7686
Litzow, Steve (R) : (360) 786-7641
Pedersen, Jamie (D) : (360) 786-7628
Roach, Pam (R) : (360) 786-7660

“The legislature finds that there are significant public infrastructure needs of the state that are unmet, and that the level of unmet need has been exacerbated by the economic downturn. The legislature further finds that there are opportunities to use the state’s depository assets to generate additional benefit for the people and the economy of the state. Therefore, the legislature intends to create the Washington investment trust as a legacy institution that amasses sufficient capital reserves to address opportunities now and in the future.”

Thank you for taking action.
– Forward Together!

 

Seattle Public Municipal Bank Forum, Dec 10

Join

Seattle City Councilman Nick Licata,
State Senator Bob Hasegawa,
Gwen Hallsmith of the Public Banking Institute,
the Seattle Public Bank Coalition,
and experts in public banking for a

public forum on

A Municipal Bank for Seattle

Dec 10 at 7pm

University Methodist Church, 1415 NE 43rd St, Seattle

Seattle could have a public bank for public lending. Once the city capitalizes the bank, it can act like any bank by creating loans for local needs.

1. Public banks can lend for local needs at rates that the global Wall Street banks are unlikely to find attractive.

2. A public bank can reduce a city’s reliance on expensive private bond issuance, reducing the costs of capital projects by 30-40%.

3. A city government can finance its projects through its own bank. The city earns interest, making more projects possible or lowering the tax burden.

4. A public bank as it grows, can partner with community banks and credit unions to support small business with lending at reasonable rates.

Sponsors

Seattle Public Bank Coalition
www.seattlepublicbankcoalition.org
Public Banking Institute
www.publicbankinginstitute.org
University Temple, United Methodist Church


Quote from Martin Luther King County Labor Council Executive Secretary/Treasurer David Freiboth:

We are all too aware of the misery wrought upon ordinary citizens by an under-regulated and out of control financial sector. After years of deregulation the banking system is no better than it was preceding the Great Recession. That reason alone is enough to bring some sanity to our financial sector through public banking.

Time for the Washington State Treasurer to Stop Gambling on Wall Street…and Start Supporting the Safety of Public Banking

According to the Washington State Treasurer, Jim McIntire, economic recovery is just around the corner. Herbert Hoover said exactly the same thing in 1932 – just months before nearly every private bank in America went broke due to their excessive gambling on Wall Street. As State Treasurer, Jim manages about $70 billion in pension funds from about 15 different accounts. Much of this $70 billion Jim gambles on Wall Street buying up everything from Mortgage Backed Securities to Monsanto to foreign corporations that make money off Chinese sweat shops. Below is a table with how Jim did from July 1 2012 to July 1 2013 (the latest available annual report).

01

Jim was elected State Treasurer in November 2008 and took office on January 1, 2009. Jim was re-elected in 2012. So far, the first five years have been a rough ride for Jim. In 2009, according to the Washington State Investment Board, Jim lost 22.8%. In 2010, Jim made 13.2%. In 2011, Jim made 21.1%. In 2012, Jim only made 1.4%. Then in the first half of 2013 (the latest information available), Jim made 13.7%. The average for Jim’s first five years has been about 5% per year. This is despite the Federal Reserve juicing the Wall Street punch bowl with trillions of dollars of “Quantitative Easing” courtesy of the US tax payers.

Jim also manages about 13.5 billion in non-pension funds. His return on investment for that 13.5 billion was less than one percent. This dismal performance was during the “good times” of a rapidly rising stock market. Sadly, back in January 2014, the Federal Reserve began to gradually remove the punch bowl from the drunk speculators on Wall Street. The punch bowl is scheduled to be removed completely later this summer. When this happens, things on Wall Street are likely to get pretty ugly. To understand just how ugly, take a long serious look at the following chart which compares the New York Stock Exchange Margin Debt to the S & P 500 for the past 20 years.

02

Note that the August 2000 Crash was preceded 5 months earlier by a spike and collapse of Margin Debt (debt used to buy stocks on margin or with only some money down). The October 2007 Crash was preceded 3 months earlier by a spike and crash of margin debt. In February, 2014, right after the Federal Reserve Punch Bowl started to be taken away, Margin Debt again peaked and has declined for the past 3 months. In short, margin debt has been one of the best predictors of a market crash a few months later. Below is another look at a similar chart going back to 1980.

03

Using Margin Credit as a signal, it looks like a stock market crash is imminent. If the State Treasurer continues to gamble like he did in 2009, he could lose 20% or more of our $70 billion in retirement funds. This would be a loss of $14 billion or more. Below is a summary of where Jim has our pension funds invested.

04

Note the billions of dollars Jim has invested in foreign governments and foreign corporations. Jim is not only outsourcing our jobs to sweat shops in China, he is also outsourcing our retirement funds to corporations in China! There are other much safer options. First, Jim could immediately move all State funds to inflation linked Treasury Bills. Second, and equally important Jim could drop his false claim that public banking is “dangerous” and join with the Washington Public Bank Coalition in building a public bank here in Washington State. After all, if Jim can invest in sweat shops in China, why can’t he invest that same money creating jobs here in Washington State?

The public Bank of North Dakota has done much better than Jim with their State investments and they did it without risking everything on a Wall Street throw of the dice. For example, in 2012, when Jim McIntire made only 1.4% on $60 billion, the public Bank of North Dakota BND) made 17.1%.

Currently, Washington State has a record $18.7 billion in debt. In the 5 years Jim has been in office, our legislature has been forced to pay an average of $800 million per year ($4 billion) in interest payments to Wall Street banks just because Jim refuses to support a public bank.

Washington State General Obligation Bonds Principal and Interest 2005 – 2013

05

This is $4 billion robbed from the General fund and given to Wall Street bankers. Had Jim agreed to support a public bank in 2009, we could have used this money instead to hire an additional 8,000 teachers per year. We also have about $20 billion in outstanding school construction bonds and another $20 billion in outstanding transportation bonds. If we financed our own bonds, like they do in North Dakota, we could have saved $12 billion just in interest payments in the past five years. This would give us billions of additional dollars to build roads, build schools and hire teachers. And we would not have to worry about losing our shirts in the next Wall Street Crash.

There will not be an Economic Recovery until we stop giving all of our money to Wall Street Big Banks and Billionaires
The Wall Street controlled media made a big deal out the fact that 200,000 jobs were created in May 2014 – returning the total number of jobs to what they were 6 years ago. As the following chart shows, during the 2008 Crash, we lost 8 million jobs.

06

So we are back nationally to 138 million jobs – which are the jobs we had when the Great Recession started. But how many people graduated from high school and college in the past 6 years? No mention was made about the fact that 8 million young adults graduated from high school and college in the past 6 years expanding the labor force by 8 million and thus there are 8 million more unemployed people than there were 6 years ago. No mention was made about the fact that the Labor Force participation rate is at an all time low with barely half the people in the US even having a job. No mention was made about the fact that the average hours worked has fallen to 34 hours per week and thus for every person with a full time 40 hour per week job someone is currently working only 28 hours per week for $8 bucks an hour – or less than $12,000 per year at a time when the average rent is approaching $1,000 per month. No mention of the fact that college student loan debt has now exceeded $1.2 trillion or that the unemployment rate among young adults is now over 50%.

Here is the Labor Force Participation rate based on the BLS Household Survey. Does this look like economic recovery to you?

07

What about the “recovery” of the housing market?

Home prices have stabilized. But 50% of all home purchases are now due to predatory Wall Street speculators like Blackrock coming in and paying cash for foreclosed homes. And who owns Blackrock? That would be the same big banks that caused the economic crash and them forced people out of their homes in the first place. Where did the big banks get all of the money to pay cash to buy up these homes? That would be from us, the US tax payers! Our tax dollars are being used to drive families out of their homes and prop up the big banks and Wall Street speculators. Did I mention that Jim McIntire has also invested in Blackrock? So both State and federal tax dollars are being used to prop up this ugly business.

08

Since 2007, more than 10 million people have been driven out of their homes after they lost their jobs and could no longer make their mortgage payments. Nearly all of these homes wound up in the shadow inventory of the big banks whose gambling had caused the crash. The banks then sold these homes in bulk at discounted prices to a group called Blackstone through a subsidiary called Invitation Homes. In a single day, Blackstone bought 1,400 homes in Atlanta. In total, Blackstone has spent $7.5 billion buying up homes all over the US. Below is a map of the foreclosed homes Blackstone now owns in Phoenix Arizona.

09

As for regular home buyers, mortgage origination loans are at a 14 year low. This is despite the fact that according to the US census, 15 million homes are not occupied. This at a time when millions of families and millions of children are sleeping in the back seat of the family car. The number of vacant homes in the US and in Washington State have skyrocketed by more than 40% since 2000.

10

Why are we at risk of a stock market crash?
There are two main “structural” problems with our economy. The first is an extreme concentration of wealth and power. Wealth is more concentrated than at any time since 1929.

11

The second problem which is related to the concentration of wealth problem is “money velocity.” Money velocity is a measure of how quickly one dollar moves through the economy. The problem is that billionaires sit on money rather than spending it. This leads to a lack of money circulation in the economy. Since money is the blood of our economy, when it does not circulate, then the economy has a heart attack which we call a stock market crash.

12

As you can see, there has been no recovery in the velocity of the money supply. In fact, it is now at a 50 year low. Instead of circulating in the economy, all of the trillions of dollars in QE simply went to the billionaires and big banks who used the money to create an artificial bubble in the stock market. It is simply a matter of time until the entire house of cards comes crashing down. There is no economic recovery. As long as we allow our country to be run by big banks and billionaires, there is only economic misery. The time is now for the Washington State Treasurer to stop gambling on Wall Street… and start supporting the safety of our own public bank. We could create tens of thousands of jobs simply by keeping our money working here in Washington State rather than lining the pockets of Wall Street Hedge Fund managers.

I am currently running for the Washington State legislature. I helped draft the bill to create a public bank in Washington State. If elected, I will introduce a bill to start a public bank in Washington State and prohibit the State Treasurer from recklessly gambling state funds on Wall Street.

David Spring M. Ed.
springforschools@aol.com

David Spring is a leader of the Washington Public Bank Coalition and a candidate for the Washington State House of Representatives for the 5th Legislative District in East King County. To learn more about his campaign, go to http://springforhouse.org/

To learn more about the Washington Public Bank Coalition, go to http://www.washingtonpublicbankcoalition.org/

To learn more about the national public bank and how you can start a public bank in your state, go to Public Bank Institute, http://publicbankinginstitute.org/

Originally published at PublicBankingInstitute.org

Public banking conference on lifestream tomorrow (Sunday)

Don’t miss the Public Banking Conference on lifestream.  Speakers will include Ellen Brown, Matt Taibbi, Gar Alperovitz, and Birgitta Jonsdottir. Thanks to John Repp and Cindy Cole will represent Washington State there!
The Public Banking Institute is having their annual conference in San Francisco beginning at 1:00 PM tomorrow, Sunday, June 2nd, 3rd and 4th.   If you have some time you can stream it live:  Here is the URL http://www.publicbankinginamerica.org/streaming-live

Effective and doable

JPUSA-email-banner-v4-596x137.png

PUBLIC STATE BANKS OR WALL STREET BANKS: THE CHOICE IS OURS

If you missed last Saturday’s “Banking for We the People” call, then you missed a great discussion about an elegant yet simple economic solution, which helps states save huge sums of taxpayer dollars and shores up local economies.JP-public-banks-recording-150x220.png

We heard from Rocky Anderson and Ellen Brown, the foremost thought leader in the country today on the issue of Public Banking. Ellen talked about the North Dakota state bank, which helped that state survive–without incident–the 2008 Wall Street-created economic crash that brought other states to their knees.

Listen to the recording.

Economics is not the sexiest subject, but we all know that it is at the root of much injustice for a growing community of Americans. Public banks in the model of North Dakota’s provide competition and huge savings compared to Wall Street banks, which use our taxpayer dollars for their private benefit while providing no public benefit. Not only do we not benefit in the profit-making, we are left holding the bag when their risky investments fail.

Listen to the recording.

We think once a person understands how public banks work, there will be very few, if any, who won’t support the development of public state banks. After you listen to the recording, please enter any questions or comments you might have in the comments box at the bottom of this page. While you’re there, check out the background material we’ve provided to increase understanding.

The Justice Party National Steering Committee

Public Banking Conference Call – April 6, 2013 – RSVP NOW!

WebOfDebt
Ellen Brown, author of Web of Debt, is the inspiration and thought leader behind the Public Banking Institute, where she serves as Chairman and President. Ellen will discuss the benefits of public banking, the disadvantages of the current banking system and what we can do to take control of our banking system so it works for us, not against us. Please spend an hour with us for…A DISCUSSION with ROCKY ANDERSON and ELLEN BROWN, author of WEB of DEBT Saturday, April 6 12 PM ET // 11 AM CT // 10 AM MT// 9 AM PT for one hour RSVP at this link: http://www.justicepartyusa.org/public_banking_conference_call You will receive an acknowledgement via email containing the call-in instructions.
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Banks use our public money (taxes) to invest and generate profits for themselves and their shareholders.

SB 5029 – Creating the Washington investment trust update

Friends,

We need a state bank. Not much good will come out of the legislature this year, but we must continue to push the state bank idea forward. We can make our money go further, reduce state debt, and keep investing in our own state economy. It doesn’t hurt that this bill would take our dollars out of the “too big to fail” banks.

Forward, and thanks to Senator Hasegawa for sponsoring the bill,

Linda
Begin forwarded message:
From: “Hasegawa, Sen. Bob” <Bob.Hasegawa@leg.wa.gov>
Subject: SB 5029 – Creating the Washington investment trust update
Date: February 25, 2013 5:19:47 PM PST

Greetings

I’d like to update you on my legislation to create the Washington Investment Trust. As you know, Senate Bill 5029 would create a state bank that could leverage state accounts to generate funds to build additional construction projects, such as infrastructure for schools and economic development, and put more Washingtonians to work.

Unfortunately, despite strong testimony by stakeholders in favor of the measure, my bill died in committee last Friday, the last day for policy bills to be moved forward in the legislative process. While I’m disappointed, I’m not discouraged. The end of a legislative session doesn’t mean the end of a bill, and support for this proposal continues to grow. It’s not uncommon for a bill to take several sessions to win passage, and I’m committed to pursuing this concept no matter how long or how much effort it takes to a successful conclusion. It’s obvious we have much more organizing work to do.

In the meantime, I want to thank you for your interest in this legislation and to encourage you to continue to lend your support to the effort to create a state bank. Together, we will get there.

Sincerely,
Bob Hasegawa
Senator Bob Hasegawa
11th Legislative District
360-786-7616
bob.hasegawa@leg.wa.gov
http://senatedemocrats.wa.gov/senators/hasegawa/

To sign up for my E-newsletter click here.

State Bank hearing Feb 14 in Olympia

Chio Saeteurn, Legislative Assistant to State Sen. Bob Hasegawa reports:

On behalf of Senator Hasegawa, I am pleased to inform you that SB 5029, Creating the Washington investment trust, has been scheduled for a public hearing on Thursday, February 14th at 1:30 pm in the Senate Committee of Financial Institutions and Housing & Insurance, Senate Hearing Room 2 in the Cherberg building.

At this time, we do not yet have a companion bill in the House of Representatives.

Please attend.

Action: Support the Senate's Washington Investment Trust bill

Senator Hasegawa has introduced a bill in the Senate.  #5029   The bill has 10 co-sponsors: Chase, Shin, Conway, Rolfes, Darneille, Hargrove, Keiser, Kohl-Welles, Kline and Frockt.   It has been referred to the Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee.  There was no hearing date as of today 2/4/13.  You can find a copy of the bill here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5029&year=2013

Put “SB 5029 Washington Investment Trust Hearing Wanted” in the subject line of the email.  Please email these Senators and say that you want a hearing on Senate Bill 5029 establishing the Washington Investment Trust.  In the body of the email ask when there is going to be a hearing on SB 5029 establishing the WIT.    There is a large constituency that wants this bill to pass.

Steve Hobbs   D     44th District  (Lake Stevens)  Steve.Hobbs@leg.wa.gov

Don Benton    R   17th District (Vancouver)   Don.Benton@leg.wa.gov

Joe Fain    R     47th District (Auburn, Renton)    joe.fain@leg.wa.gov

Brian Hatfield    D  19th District (Raymond)            Brian.Hatfield@leg.wa.gov

Mark Mullet      D   5th District (Issaquah)  mark.mullet@leg.wa.gov

Sharon Nelson  D  34th District (West Seattle, Vashon)   sharon.nelson@leg.wa.gov

Pam Roach    R   31st District (Auburn)   roach.pam@leg.wa.gov

Notes on the Washington Investment Trust Forum

Co-authored with John Repp, both members of Washington Public Bank Project

For those of you unable to attend the forum last Thursday, Sept 27, 2012 sponsored by PSARA -“Would a State Investment Trust (AKA a public bank) Benefit the People of Washington”? We submit here our notes and comments. The forum was very well attended. Interest in the idea of a public bank remains high.

The three person panel was introduced by Robbie Stern, chair of PSARA.

Rep. Bob Hasegawa spoke first and he told us that the new bill for the upcoming legislature will focus on funding infrastructure in our state. The name of the public bank will be the Washington Investment Trust (WIT), same as last year. He said we need to use Washington tax money locally and for the benefit of the citizens of our state. He sees the WIT as a long term project for the future of our children and grandchildren. It will not get us out of the current recession. It is a step to get out from under the Wall Street Banks.

Jim McIntire, the state Treasurer, spoke next and began with the phrase, “the Treasurer’s Office is the ‘state bank’”. We think this shows 1) either he is being deceptive with the word “bank” or 2) he really does not understand the privileges a real bank has. He went on to talk about the good job that the Office of the Treasurer(OST) has done in investing and managing the state’s money. Later on when he makes the claim that we do not have enough cash flow to start a bank, this claim contradicts his statement that his office has invested and has earned billions for the state. If we don’t have enough cash flow to start a bank, where does his office get all the cash to invest and earn returns for the state? We are talking about the same money. ( For those of you who think we can solve the problem of Jim McIntire by elected a new Treasurer in 4 years, be aware that as soon as the Treasurer of Oregon got even close to working with the movement there to establish a public bank, he faced massive criticism from his fellow treasurers at the first national meeting of State Treasurers he attended.)

McIntire said that his main concern is “safety, liquidity and return.” We agree. On “safety”, the third speaker, Darel Grothaus told us that in 30 years there has not been default on public infrastructure bonds in this state. Therefore, if the WIT loans money to fund infrastructure, the funds will be safe and those loans will be carefully scrutinized for safety. The plan is for the WIT to follow good banking practices, be audited each year and follow guidelines set forth by the Department of Financial Institutions.

On “liquidity” McIntire does not seem to understand that managing liquidity is what banks do. A retired Bank of North Dakota official told us this spring that Treasurer McIntire simply does not understand how banks maintain liquidity as they deal with deposits flowing in and out of depositors accounts. That official told us off the record that he felt the opposition by State Treasurers to the public bank concept is primarily a “turf” thing.

McIntire told us that his office primarily invests in Federal Government Securities that can be sold at any time if the State needs the money. There is also a guaranteed return. Here we see the real difference between a public bank and an Office of the Treasury. The WIT will fund infrastructure projects, schools, sewers, water systems, roads and bridges here is Washington State. The current Office of the Treasury invests in paper i.e. Federal Government Securities and short-term CD’s.

When Darel spoke next, he repeated the idea that Washington State taxes need to be invested here at home in public infrastructure. Currently, the government jurisdiction, say school board, water district, city, county or an agency of the state must go to the private bond market to borrow money for the project. The Wall Street Banks underwrite the bonds i.e. loan the money. There are significant upfront fees as well as the interest on the loan that the jurisdiction must pay. The Washington Investment Trust (WIT) would be a short term revolving lender for these projects. He believes that the Office of the State Treasurer’s core portfolio can be used for infrastructure construction loans without endangering cash flow and the liquidity needed to pay current obligations. There are ways to calculate how much of this core portfolio could be used and still maintain liquidity. Darel emphasized that state and local government borrowing costs can be significantly reduced and the state can get a better return on investment compared to bond financing. If the state charged only 1% less interest, the savings to local government would be huge and the WIT would earn the interest instead of the Wall Street Banks. The creation of jobs in this state must be part of the calculation of “return”. For example a billion dollar loan for a sewer project could produce 13,000 jobs. And when that loan is repaid with interest the WIT could again leverage that money to create more loans and more jobs. So, on “safety, liquidity and return” the WIT is a better way for our state.

In the Q and A session, Jeff Johnson of the WA State Labor Council spoke about the support from labor unions for a WIT. He asked the Treasurer to use his expertise to help in finding a way to allow the State to keep its money local through a WIT and to use that money to make loans and create jobs.

An audience participant who is also a financial advisor said that she had looked into having some of her clients buy Washington State bonds when they were offered by the state. What she found was that the bonds were underwritten by the big Wall Street Banks and after their fees and the way the bonds were structured, only sold in large denominations, her clients, when and if they were able to buy them, would get very little return and that the Wall Street banks got the major benefits. She could not recommend to her clients that they buy WA state bonds. Her question to the Treasurer was, “Why can’t we think outside the box, do something different, how can we make a WIT possible and viable?”

Larry Brown from the Machinists Union wondered if the WIT could help bring another airplane company to Washington as a competitor to Boeing. Senator Marilyn Chase told the group that the University of Washington has an internal bank. The legislature gave the U of W bonding authority a few years ago. In effect, public banking already exists in this state and we have not heard McIntire speak out against this.

It was mentioned by several people that we need to get out from under the Wall Street Banks. Bank of America has foreclosed illegally on Washington State citizens, backs war, backs coal, and cares nothing for the people but only about profit. Why do we keep using it to collect our tax money? (B of A is contracted by the state to collect all the taxes and fees for the state). The mood of the crowd was in favor of the WIT and they wanted the help of the Treasurer to make it possible. However, legislation will be introduced once again this legislative session and we will work state wide to make a WIT happen. Stay tuned, there will be some actions to take as the session draws near.