MODEL LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I am writing to support the legislation that has been proposed to create a Vermont State Bank Commission – H. 208 and S. 48. We have had three years of experience lending the state’s deposits through our state lending agencies as a result of the 10% program, and we have proven that 1) it’s not risky, 2) it produces a better return for our money than we get in TD Bank, and 3) it is a real way to jump start the clean energy economy – of the $33 million loaned out through the 10% program, the vast majority went to renewable energy and energy efficiency measures instead of to a bank that is one of the funders of major fossil fuel developments like the DAPL pipeline and the Vermont Gas pipeline.
40% of the world has public banks, including Germany, Costa Rica, Brazil, and our own State of North Dakota. Vermont could be a leader in this area, and could solve our budget problems at the same time. Right now, $80 MILLION dollars of our state budget goes to debt service – all to the private sector. With a public bank, over time that money would come back to our state general fund. This means a public bank provides a real alternative to the false choice of budget cuts or tax increases. In North Dakota over the last 10 years, they have sent over $500 MILLION dollars to the general fund. They even had a debate about whether to get rid of the property tax – that would be a nice debate to have.
The study that Vermonters for a New Economy commissioned three years ago showed that a public bank in Vermont would create over 2,500 jobs, add over $340 MILLION to our gross state product, over $5.8 MILLION in additional taxes on the income from increased productivity, and millions of additional income from the interest payments on the loans. A Commission for a Vermont State Bank would look at this and additional information, develop a business plan, and come back to the legislature with recommendations for a public bank that would be uniquely suited to Vermont.
Please join me in supporting this important legislation.
All the best,