If you’re in the districts of Steve Hobbs (the 44th) or Mary Margaret Haugen (the 10th), please contact your legislators and ask them support SB 6310, the bill to create a Washington Investment Trust (state bank).
Note: Hobbs and Haugen are members of the “Road Kill Caucus” of centrist Dems who often vote with Republicans on fiscal issues.
And for the House Committee please as the following to support HB 2434:
Thanks to all who sent emails, called and testified at hearings for the WIT bill. The House and Senate bills have come so far! Now they must be passed out of committees, immediately.
DEADLINE: The Senate Financial Institutions, Housing and Insurance Committee must pass SB 6310 out of committee to establish the Washington Investment Trust, by Wednesday, Feb 1st.
The House Business and Financial Institutions Committee must pass HB 2434 out of committee to establish the Washington Investment Trust by Thursday, Feb 2nd .
ACTION: Please contact uncommitted Representatives and and Senators who serve on the pertinent committees. It is worth contacting both Democrats and Republicans, although support will most likely come from the Democratic side. Those committee members names and emails are below.
If you call, urge them to vote yes, to save the state, counties, and cities millions of dollars in debt service costs, help students, keep money in Washington State and create jobs. Washington Investment Trust can create a revenue stream without new taxes. The Legislative hotline is 1-800-562-6000. The hotline is not available on Sunday, so call on Monday.
Put “Yes on SB 6310, The Washington Investment Trust” in the Subject line if you email the Senate committee members.
In the Senate Committee contact:
Steve Hobbs D firstname.lastname@example.org (360) 786-7686
Mary Margaret Haugen D email@example.com (360) 786-7618
Don Benton R firstname.lastname@example.org (360) 786-7632
Put “Yes on HB 2434, The Washington Investment Trust” in the Subject line if you email the House committee members.
In the House Committee contact:
FYI Here is a rebuttal to Jim McIntire’s, the Treasurer, objections. This refutes his three main points.
Report on the hearings in the Washington State Legislature, on Wednesday, January 25 and Thursday, January 26, on
SB 6310 and on HB 2434, the bills to establish the Washington Investment Trust (WIT), a publicly owned state bank.
Both hearings are available on TVW on the Internet:
The hearing rooms were full of WIT supporters and many testified. The many different reasons given for support reflected a high level of understanding about the concept of a publicly owned state bank. It was a good display of citizen activism. The banking lobby did not testify as they are staying neutral on these bills. I suspect they know how unpopular they are right now. The strongest testimony against the WIT on both days came from the state treasurer, Jim McIntire. He summarized his testimony by saying that the core principles of a public treasury are “safety, liquidity, and return – in that order. This bill violates these principles.”
First, let’s look at liquidity. He said that the state does not have sufficient cash flow to pay the state’s bills and invest money not immediately needed for paying the bills. This was contradicted in testimony by Darel Grothaus who has had many years of experience in banking and was on the task force that developed the bill. Grothaus based his testimony upon information given to the task force by the Office of the State Treasurer (OST). OST has two investment portfolios. One is a liquid portfolio and another is a core portfolio. The core portfolio, over the last ten years has never gone below 1.2 billion dollars. The average time the money is tied up in the core portfolio is about 4 years. Just a portion of that portfolio would be enough to capitalize the WIT. So the Treasurer’s liquidity argument is false.
How about safety? Treasurer says the investments of WIT will not be safe. However, over the last 30 years, not a single infrastructure loan in the state of Washington has defaulted. If WIT is primarily a bank loaning to infrastructure projects of counties, cities, school boards, and the state itself the loans will be safe. McIntire is correct to be concerned about student loan defaults. But as any bank, the WIT would make a calculation about expected default rate and set aside funds to cover that. McIntire was wrong to say the taxpayers would have to make up the losses.
How about return? McIntire is proud of the returns to the state from the investments he has made as Treasurer. Within the system in which he is working, the returns are good. Under the current system when the state sells bonds for projects we pay fees up front to lawyers and bankers in addition to the interest we pay to the bondholders, often the big banks themselves. Conversely, with the WIT, it would be collecting interest on loans to other government jurisdictions, all with taxing power, and the interest would be lower than a typical bond and the upfront fees would be small. The savings to Washington State taxpayers would be huge. The Treasurer invests in paper and thus we don’t know where and even if the money gets invested in the real economy. The WIT will invest in real projects here in Washington State, projects that the state and local governments need. Many jobs will be created here in Washington. That is a big difference and must be considered a vital part of the return.
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