by Austin Sachs, Director, Protect US
Six months ago, I published “Time for a Socially Responsible Investing and Banking Wave to Sweep Virginia,” detailing the “Divest the Commonwealth” campaign by Protect US. The campaign aimed to pass legislation and move organizations in Virginia to divest from fossil fuels, weapons manufacturers and tobacco companies. While no legislation was introduced or passed in the Virginia General Assembly this past session, things have changed.
Three weeks ago, Protect US unveiled its newest campaign, “The Bank of Virginia Act.” Designed specifically to create a socially responsible public bank in Virginia and based off the model of the Bank of North Dakota, the Bank of Virginia would provide low-cost financing to municipal governments and state agencies, while ensuring taxpayer funds deposited in the bank are loaned only to companies and organizations that Virginians support. This new model could save millions of dollars annually as well as countless lives.
The Bank of Virginia would be based on three tenets: fiscal responsibility, social responsibility and efficiency.
It would be fiscally responsible, because by managing its own money, the state could save millions annually through lowered interest rates and reduced bank fees — at the same time returning all profits the bank makes back to the taxpayers.
It would be socially responsible, because the bank would be required to loan money out to companies and organizations engaging in industries that support our communities and not tear them apart.
Finally, it would be efficient, because currently the state operates multiple agencies and programs that engage in lending and financial transaction behaviors. Through one agency, the operations of each program could better serve their stated purpose. Altogether, the Bank of Virginia makes sense for a state looking to better serve its people.
And to this end, four candidates for the Virginia General Assembly have already signed on in support of the Act. Jennifer Lewis, running for the House of Delegates in the 20th district; Eric Stamps running for the House of Delegates in the 14th district; Jeff Staples running for the Virginia Senate in the 5th district; and Brent Finnegan running for the House of Delegates in the 26th District. This growing list of supporters has shown that it is time for Virginia to better manage its money and create the Bank of Virginia.
While some might see divides between Republicans and Democrats in Virginia, the Bank of Virginia can bring both parties and independents together. This remarkable feat is one of the many reasons why the Bank of Virginia Act campaign has grown so quickly and can be the solution to so many problems faced every day in Virginia. It can also provide a solution across the political aisle, without having to compromise any core beliefs. The Bank of Virginia Act is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for Virginia.
Learn more here: http://www.bankofvirginiaact.org