Two candidates for governor, Democrat Phil Murphy and Seth Kaper-Dale of the Green Party, have been strong supporters of creating a state bank for New Jersey. Murphy’s active promotion of the idea has brought significant attention to the concept, even though many voters are not clear about just what a state bank is or could do. As a former banker himself, Murphy seems to know.

Murphy makes the case quite clearly: let’s keep NJ’s billions of tax dollars in our own bank where we can leverage our capital through investments in the state such as infrastructure, student loans, small businesses, and affordable housing, among others. With one of the highest debt-per-capita ratios in the nation, a state bank can begin reversing the unsustainable cycle of more debt/more taxes.

One of the many destructive outcomes of the financial disaster of 2008 and the 9/11 events was the legislative effort to “rein in” banks with new levels of regulatory requirements that came down hardest on community banks, those smaller local institutions which provide the majority of finance for small businesses and other local needs. These small institutions, which are so critical for local economic health, were not responsible for the calamities of either of these events but were lumped into the same category as the ones that were, the large Wall Street banks. Onerous regulatory requirements extract a fortune for compliance by these small local banks who can’t afford the added expense.

While all community banks around the U.S. have been struggling and losing significant market share, there is only one state where this phenomena is not present: North Dakota. Why? Because North Dakota has its own state-owned bank that partners and supports the community banks by sharing risks and helping with compliance issues.

Money is an essential public utility — like water. Learn how the control of credit by global financial interests and large private banks lies at the center of our state financial woes and how we can break free by visiting our website: www.BankingOnNewJersey.org.

How can you help? Currently, we’re recruiting individuals with strong backgrounds in banking, public administration, economics, or community development to serve on an advisory committee for our group. We also welcome invitations to speak to community, civic, and business groups. E-mail info@Banking­On­NewJersey.org.

Joan Bartl

Banking on New Jersey

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