Washington Investment Trust Bill

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Today my Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture Committee hosted State Senator-elect Representative Bob Hasegawa and banking expert Darel Grothaus to talk about proposed State legislation to create a State Bank.

A State Bank is mechanism to directly invest tax deposits to build critically needed infrastructure at a substantially lower cost, create jobs, and generate a higher financial returns to taxpayers, thus benefiting all Washington residents.

Here are some of the benefits of a State Bank:

  • Lower interest rates and much reduced upfront fees mean borrowing costs are significantly lower
  • Every time a construction loan is repaid it revolves the funds for another infrastructure project and jobs that come with it.
  • Taxpayers earn a higher return on their tax dollars

Though it didn’t move out of either the House or Senate committees of origin last year, there were 44 co-sponsors on a similar bill, the greatest number of co-sponsors of any bill filed that session.  Currently there’s only one state-owned bank in the nation, in North Dakota, where one has existed since 1919.  Some credit that bank for the fact that the State of North Dakota has a surplus in state revenue when other states are making budget cuts to address revenue shortfalls.  My hope is that in the 2013 Legislative Session the Washington Investment Trust Bill becomes a reality.

If you want to learn more about how a State Bank might work, check out what the North Dakota Attorney General and Governor have to say about it on this Prairie Public Radio video.