At least 90 percent of the nation’s cities are facing a budget crisis because of the economic shutdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a mid-April report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities. Because municipal governments cannot run deficits, they will have to respond by cutting staff and programs, which will worsen the economic conditions of the cities they serve.

One hun­dred years ago July 28, a bank in Bis­mar­ck, N.D., opened its doors for the very first time. This would have been an unre­mark­able event, like­ly lost to his­to­ry, except for the fact that it was a pub­lic bank, owned by all the res­i­dents of the state. A cen­tu­ry on, the Bank of North Dako­ta (BND) is still the only pub­licly owned bank in the con­ti­nen­tal Unit­ed States (a sec­ond pub­lic bank was recent­ly estab­lished in Amer­i­can Samoa) — though poten­tial­ly not for long.