By Bob Katzen
This bill establishes a publicly owned, state-run Bank of Massachusetts funded to the tune of up to $2 billion through the sale of bonds, funding from the Legislature and unclaimed property proceeds. A 10-member board of directors, chaired by the state treasurer, would provide a list of potential CFOs and COOs to the governor, secretary of state and state treasurer who would appoint the officers by a majority vote.
The Bank would focus on providing capital access to underbanked populations, industries, small-business, public-private partnerships or local governments for development of infrastructure and business, incorporating broader public benefits in the climate, equity, health, clean water and education.
“There are communities throughout Massachusetts, particularly in Western Massachusetts, that are underserved by traditional banking,” said the measure’s sponsor, Sen. Adam Hinds (D-Pittsfield). “A state-owned bank would provide underbanked populations such as minority-owned businesses and the cannabis industry the opportunity to access much-needed capital.”
“The Big Dig, state police overtime pay, RMV backlogged/missing driver’s license suspensions, Farak, Dookhan and the state crime lab scandals, the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home deaths, the governor’s vaccination rollout,” cited Chip Ford, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. “Oversight and accountability non-existent. Now Sen. Hinds wants to establish a state bank. Whoa boy! What could possibly go wrong, leaving taxpayers again on the hook? Even the Fed wouldn’t touch a bailout of this bank crisis-in-the-making.”