PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers want cities to be allowed to put their cash in banks other than large, for-profit institutions. Bills in the Legislature — Senate Bill 339 and House Bill 2743 — would enable municipalities to create public banks, which are owned and run by a state or municipality.
James Davis, who chairs the Oregon Public Bank Alliance, said cities then could deposit their reserves somewhere besides big banks. He said that would create the capacity for public municipal banks to provide bigger loans and bonding for cities when they want to build infrastructure, such as buildings and bridges.
“The kind of interest that cities currently pay to the big for-profit Wall Street banks – it’s exorbitant and it can be cut almost in half when working with a municipal bank,” he said. “That cuts the cost of building a school dramatically, which stretches our tax dollars quite a bit.”