Letters to the Editor

Washington needs a state bank | Letters

I suggest creating a Public Bank of Washington State to promote the general welfare and address our state’s $10 billion annual shortfall. According to the Attorney General’s news release dated Oct. 26, 2010, Washington state has a Commingled Trust Fund that is managed by the Washington State Investment Board.

“This $53 billion fund represents the bulk of pension fund savings and investment earnings that are used to fund the state’s obligation for future benefit payments for the beneficiaries of several different retirement plans for Washington’s public employees, teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, school employees, and judges.”

This $53 billion fund could be leveraged like assets of a private bank by a factor of 30 to loan $1.59 trillion into existence. Since the purpose of our public bank would be to fund government services and not to create profit for private shareholders, the loans could be at zero percent interest.

The principle on the loans would be paid back through taxes. In time, we can transform our tax structure, to allow the highest beneficiaries of our economy to pay a higher percentage. We won’t need another regressive tax like a sales tax increase or fee increases to fill the budget gap.

The money created through a public bank could be used to hire workers for state infrastructure projects, fill budget shortfall for state and local government, and invest in our education. We could use our public bank to transform our economy by investing in clean energy and sustainable food production or anything else to be good stewards of our beautiful state.

If North Dakota can have a public bank, there is no reason why Washington state can’t have one also.

“All the perplexities, confusions, and distressed in America arise, not from defects in their constitution or confederation, not from a want of honor or virtue, so much as from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation.”
— John Adams in a letter to Thomas Jefferson

Christian Henry



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