By 2011, only one state will have escaped the credit crunch that is pushing other states toward insolvency: North Dakota. North Dakota is also the only state that owns its own bank. The state has its own credit machine, making it independent of the Wall Street banking crisis that has infected the rest of the country.
Now, several states are either studying the prospects of a state-owned bank or are considering legislation to make one possible.
Five states have bills pending—Massachusetts, Washington, Illinois, Michigan, and Virginia. In April, documentary filmmaker and Virginia resident Bill Still showed his new award-winning documentary on the topic, The Secret of Oz, to the Missouri House of Representatives. Rep. Allen Icet, a candidate for state auditor, proposed using the Virginia proposal as part of a study on a state bank in Missouri and said he would hold committee hearings this summer.
Also in mid-April, the Hawai‘i House approved a resolution asking the state to study the possibility of establishing a state-run bank there. State Rep. Marcus Oshiro, a Democrat who chairs the finance committee, called a state-run bank a “reasonable public option” to spur development and hold state funds.
Other state legislatures entertaining proposals for forming state-owned banks include New Mexico and Vermont. Candidates in eight states are running on a state-owned bank platform: three Democrats, two Greens, two Republicans, and one Independent.
—Ellen Brown is an attorney and the author of 11 books, including Web of Debt, webofdebt.com