Warren Johnston • Valley News • January 19, 2014
Allowing the Vermont Economic Development Authority to operate as a state bank would create thousands of jobs, save the state millions in interest costs and add hundred s of millions in value and production, a study released last week says.
The peer-reviewed study, conducted by the Gund Institute at the universities of Vermont and Massachusetts, did not recommend that Vermont start a state bank from scratch, but suggested an expansion of the existing agency, which essentially functions as public bank now.
Interest in establishing public banks has been growing nationwide in the wake of the 2008 banking crisis. North Dakota has the only state bank in the country, and during the last legislative session, Vermont lawmakers considered, but didn’t pass, bills to study the impact of a state bank based on the North Dakota model.
A coalition of organizations, individuals and businesses, called Vermonters for a New Economy, commissioned this study with funding from the Donella Meadows Institute of Norwich.
Proponents believe Vermont could save hundreds of millions of dollars, stimulate business and create jobs with a state bank, and the study’s findings support that view.
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