Sen. Wirth on Need for Strong PRC Regulation, Plus Countering Misinformation on the Public Bank

Our three News in Briefs focus on Covid and the recovery, with one excellent piece on our not having illusions about 2021 and a Biden-led return to “normalcy.” Another NIB describes how it may not be a good time to start shopping again due to the new strain spreading rapidly.

FOUR DAYS! It will take years to fix the Trump mess, but at least he will be gone. Rumors of his actually mulling a last ditch declaration of Martial Law and invalidating the election may be an indication of his fears of what comes at 12:01 PM January 20. No longer protected from prosecution, it seem that NY is prepared to act swiftly, GA is exploring charges for his intervention in the election count, and Washington, D.C. is exploring prosecution for fomenting the Wednesday’s insurrection. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Senator Wirth on the ETA. Be sure to get to the end of the post for a one-minute video of Senator Wirth on the Senate chamber floor in 2019 testifying on the Energy Transition Act and explaining how the PRC’s authority must be protected. If only the legislators had had time to review that bill more carefully, along with the other bill being amended this year, the Produced Water Act.

Public Banking Misinformation Corrected. The feature piece today is a guest blog from our allies at the Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity. See below.

Retake Our Democracy’s 2021 Legislative Priorities. Over the past few days, we’ve significantly expanded our legislative priorities page, adding a couple of bills to our Priority List and adding details describing the majority of the Priority Bills. Now that we are nearing the start of the session, look for some shifts in our priorities based upon a better understanding of bills and new ally input. It is not too late to take the Legislative Priorities Survey. It takes 5-10 minutes to complete and it will close on Tuesday. So please, if you haven’t taken it yet, do so today! Click here to take the survey.

In our Strategy Session with members of Retake’s Senate District Advocacy Team members on Friday, we heard from many sources disheartening information of retreating support for some bills we thought were likely to pass including The Green Amendment, the Health Security Act, and the Public Bank, three of our most highly ranked bills in the survey and incredibly important bills. We are communicating the specific concerns to our allies who sponsored or are advancing the bills, as most often the concerns are based on misinformation. We are also going to ramp up our advocacy to dispel this misinformation through continuing Senator-Constituent Zoom Conversations. In our Conversation with Speaker Egolf, we heard of “unintended consequences” from the Public Bank and that the “State shouldn’t compete with public banks.” This is completely bogus information as delineated below, yet in yesterday’s interview with Rep. Montoya, he also stated a fear of “unintended consequences” and competing with “mom and pop banks.”

If you want to join the advocacy effort, you can click here to learn more about our Senate District Advocacy Teams and join one or you can join our Statewide Legislative Alert by clicking here. Our Alerts are sent anytime one of the bills we support is being heard in committee or on the chamber floor and includes a bill summary, speaking points, and legislator contact info. It is an easy way to raise your voice with your legislator at that critical moment when he/she is about to vote on a bill.

Committee hearing observers. In the past we always had Retake observers taking notes on hearings, recording votes and more importantly summarizing what bill opponents argue. We use this information to revise our bill summaries that we send to legislators so we can dispel misinformation such as that stated by the Speaker about public banks. If you would like to serve as a Hearing Observer, please just send us a note at It will be much easier to do from home than sitting around in the halls waiting for a hearing to convene.

News In Brief

From Common Dreams: “Promised Vaccine Stockpile Doesn’t Even Exist? Governors Demand Trump ‘Answer Immediately for This Deception’ ‘‘ Despite ongoing, strong assurances from the Trump administration that a “strategic reserve” of vaccines was in place, to be released for the second round of vaccines. We should be used to the smoke and mirrors from this administration, but this is a devastating piece of news.

From Vox: Still going to the grocery store? With new virus variants spreading, it’s probably time to stop.” Given the first, NIB report on the lack of a reserve of vaccines and likely very long delays in getting it disseminated broadly, this Vox report is very important, albeit not exactly welcome. But we can’t let our impatience guide our behavior and risk our (and others’) health. It is worth reviewing what scientists now say about how much easier it is to catch the new strain of virus and the implications for our behavior.

From Common Dreams: “Let’s Burn All Illusions in 2021. Only yesterday, we published a report on Biden’s Covid relief plan. It felt like such a dramatic change from the current absence of leadership and spiteful actions. But Katya Adams sent this Common Dreams piece that reminds us that ousting Trump is not the end of our work.

“Can we not agree that (1) the neoliberal order has led to greater public disempowerment, resentment, and distrust of institutions, and (2) blocking social democratic alternatives under such conditions only paves the way for even more retrograde and reactionary forces to come to power? If we agree, then, a return to the pre-Trump ‘normal’ would very likely mean the strengthening of the present reactionary tendencies with the added possibility that a less unhinged and more competent personality might assume the leadership position.’

From Common Dreams: “Let’s Burn All Illusions in 2021.

While we were all heartened by the selection of Rep. Deb Haaland as Interior Secretary and the selection of Sen. Bernie Sanders as Sen. Budget Chair, we can’t ignore the overwhelming proportion of neo-liberal, Wall St- aligned cabinet selections, as noted by Common Dreams “We know that the Biden administration represents business-as-usual politics and is staffed in key positions with familiar neoliberal politicians from the previous administrations. Their raison d’être is serving corporate power and the U.S. empire albeit with a touch of diversity or a heavy reliance on identity politics optics.” Stability? Certainly; bold action? We’ll see. It remains very clear that we will need to push the Dems in DC and remind them that it was the huge turnout among communities of color that got them the Senate and the White House. It is time to honor the grassroots efforts that drove that turnout. What would a bold agenda look like?

“Their talk of fairness, decency, empathy, healing is meant to press the public snooze button and keep them from organizing and demanding Medicare For All, living wages, emergency “survival” checks, debt jubilee, free public education, moratorium on evictions, social housing, significant cuts in the military budget, vastly more progressive taxation, a New Green Deal, sustainable agriculture, healthy food, community policing, end to structural racism, end to the carceral state, and a just foreign policy.”

From Common Dreams: “Let’s Burn All Illusions in 2021.

Retake Conversation with Rep. Roger Montoya. I had never met Rep. Montoya, but after 40 minutes with him, I am so excited about his joining the legislature. This is someone who doesn’t just spout what we want to hear. Montoya’s life experience and upbringing have created a person who gets social, racial and climate justice in his heart. This is a must watch video.

We Must Change
the Public Bank Conversation

The piece below is a guest blog from the Alliance for Local Economic Prosperity and is explicitly designed to respond to misinformation being disseminated by lobbyists for the community banks. That misinformation is clearly having an impact as in just the last two days, Speaker Egolf and Rep. Montoya parroted the message from those lobbyists. The piece below makes an excellent case for the Public Bank generally and also describes how it would not compete with community banks. From AFLEP:

New Mexico is on the cutting edge of a national banking revolution. There is a movement growing to establish public state-owned banks from coast-to-coast and we have an opportunity to fundamentally change New Mexico’s finance system for the better.

Implementing public banks does have its challenges, and unfortunately opponents of the idea are using outdated and erroneous information to mislead legislators and the public. We have learned important lessons from other states and have crafted the Public Banking Act in New Mexico to attempt to include community banks and credit unions as partners, and not as adversaries or competitors. The goals of a public include helping community banks and credit unions grow their customer bases, provide more loans to a wider group of local businesses and institutions, and allow New Mexico to think bigger about funding its economic future.

Information being shared by the Independent Community Bankers Association of New Mexico is simply wrong and based on old opinions and past legislation from other states.  It is not based on what we envision for New Mexico, which at its core is more small business and community-based development.

Community bankers were afforded every opportunity to participate in the development of the Public Banking Act, and they have not. New Mexico has unique economic needs and the fact is that conventional ways of banking and their limited capacity simply are not adequate. Older business models do not serve the needs in 2021, and today’s challenges require new models and smart solutions that a public bank can provide. In addition we offer the opportunity to expand the capacity to further that development.

Yes, community banks help, and the facts are that a public bank will help them lend more, develop more customers, and help more New Mexicans achieve the success they desire.  The outcome?  Thriving New Mexico communities.

How the Public Banking Act Will Help

  • Community Banks and Credit Unions did lend $1.2 billion in PPP loans in New Mexico in 2020; that comes out to about $570 per resident. But in the state with a public bank, North Dakota, small businesses were able to get $1.7 billion; that comes out to roughly $2,200 per resident thanks to the early coordination of, and existing relationships with, the Bank of North Dakota.
  • In New Mexico community banks did help 9,500 small businesses. But, in the state with a public bank, North Dakota, 20,000 small businesses were able to get help, thanks to the early efforts of the Bank of North Dakota.
  • New Mexico has 154,000 small business. Helping even 10,000 more would have saved thousands of jobs and dreams early in the pandemic.
  • While Community Banks do have adequate (and even excess) capital, liquidity does not mean they make the loans needed to spur the economic development we need. Simply ask them how many of their loans are made to businesses that do not include a personal guarantee, something that is extremely problematic for the vast majority of New Mexicans.
  • A Public Bank can offer additional security on a loan to help our local financial institutions make the loans they won’t/can’t make today and increase the number of qualifying loans, number of customers, and help more New Mexicans achieve their dreams. Despite the capitalist necessity of being driven by financial returns to their owners, we believe that deep down New Mexico Community Banks and Credit Unions are in fact invested in their communities and want to see their communities prosper, and that’s exactly why the public bank wants them to be partners.
  • The Public Bank does not violate the Anti-Donation Clause because the loans are a service. “Bankers banks” are key to helping banks provide the lending capacity we need them to have. Nobody has ever said we need LESS access to capital. Instead, more capital lowers barriers for everyone.
  • Loans are made through contractual agreements with interest paid to the state and a partner bank.  The bank earns money.  It doesn’t gift money on its deposits.
  • Every community sees small businesses struggling, infrastructure needs that aren’t met, and dreams unfulfilled, especially in our poorest communities. A state-owned bank will do more to help increase community wealth that will support their thriving
  • A Public Bank does not direct municipal deposits away from community banks. It only affects the global banks that work at the state level.  Over time revenue deposits in the Public Bank will increase while they decrease in the global banks.
  • An initial $50 million transfer out of the state’s $2.3 billion daily deposits with a global bank is a worthwhile investment in New Mexico. Using the state’s money to make more money is smart government.
  • The State Bank would be regulated by the same state and federal laws that community banks abide by.  The state bank would abide by the same FDIC rules that every other bank in the nation does.

A Public bank does:

  • Enhance our resiliency.
  • Build on our small business growth.
  • Provide more equitable access to funds.
  • Give people opportunity.
  • Raise funds without raising taxes.
  • Allow new, innovative, lending programs.
  • Provide Smart Government for New Mexico.

This is a “yes and” proposal. While there are several state agencies that already provide funds, the Public Bank will both expand and complement what they do to  help grow business and employ more New Mexicans with new and innovative programs they cannot offer.  A State Public Bank will bring increased focus, efficiency and effectiveness to the state’s finance system.

Product or ServiceOffered by a State BankOffered by State AgencyOffered by NM Community
Accepts DepositsOnly accepts deposits from State TreasurerYes (STO)Yes
Processes WithdrawalsNo (doesn’t compete with community banks)Yes (STO)Yes
Cash Management ServicesNo (doesn’t compete with community banks)Yes (STO, SIC)Yes
Issues & Sells Tax Exempt BondsPossible to take out bonds to invest in state projectsYes (NMFA, NMHELC)No
Offers Small Business LoansUnderwrites and supports banks and credit unionsYes (NMFA, NMHELC, NMSBIC, SIC)Yes
Provides Equity Financing
(Directly or Indirectly)
Leverages funds 8 to 10 times through access to  Federal ReserveYes (NMEDD, NMFA, NMHELC, NMSBIC, SIC)Yes
Offers Commercial Real Estate Loans (Directly or Indirectly)Possible in the futureYes (NMEDD, NMFA, NMSBIC, SIC)Yes
Offers Mortgage Loans Possible in the futureYes (NMMFA)Yes
Offers Tax Credit Incentive LoansPossible in the futureYes (NMFA)No
Pays Taxes on Income/EarningsReturns money to the bank operating fund for more loansNoYes
Helps State Agencies Achieve Financial & Socio-Economic GoalsThis is the mission of a state bankThey can use the bank to increase their capacitySometimes

Senator Wirth Testifying on the Senate Floor
On the ETA (One Minute)

In solidarity and hope,

Paul and Roxanne (4 days)

Categories: Local-State Government & Legislation

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8 replies

  1. You don’t have to publish this. I am sick of the Biden bashing. Get real. Recognize what you live in. Be pragmatic. Learn to work it to make progress instead of constantly dreaming about impossible pie-in-the-sky socialist goals. This is the reality. Stop the bleeding. The species is damn near extinct. Nirvana doesn’t exist.

    • I respectfully disagree. The path of neoliberalism is human extinction, very possibly within the life of my grandchild. Stopping the bleeding is an assumption, our vision absolutely must go beyond that or we are wasting our time. I suspect Biden is not immovable, so we must move him.

      • I agree with Paul. Pragmatism is a convenient word to obfuscate the obvious.

        For some, there is always another hour, or day, or month or decade. Survival is not progress because the context excludes any measure of the quality of that survival.

        Impossible, ‘pie-in-the-sky goals’ is an insult to the intelligence of a couple of hundred million ‘murkans who do that every day, in order to survive, by doing without many of the things a ‘socialist’ philosophy would provide as easily as breathing.

        Let us never forget that capitalism exists entirely on the back of socialist realities, and vandalizes them minute by minute.

        Working to make pragmatism progressive is absolutely Newspeak, using Doublethink to deceive us into believing that it is possible to revive Lazarus by merely believing in some god.

  2. I hope you will have this information about the Public Banking Act and Community Banks on your legislative action web page so that it will be at hand when it is time for us to contact committee members.

  3. The species is already doomed. Your grandchild has no future.

    • So we retreat to selfism, the stronghold of petty scoundrels?

      The ONLY response to absurdity is dignity and selfless compassion.

      Perhaps you have never had anything to fight for, like peace.

  4. You assume correctly.

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