Senate Bill S.204
March 26 Update
The Senate Finance Committee did not advance S.204 by the deadline for crossover on March 21. That means the bill is effectively dead for this session of the legislature. At the one and only hearing on the bill held by the Finance Committee, Chris D’Elia, President of the Vermont Bankers Association, the State Treasurer and the CEO of VEDA, all opponents of a state bank, and Anthony Pollina, who is a supporter of a state bank were asked by the committee to testify. People who had worked on the town meeting campaigns had to practically beg to be given an opportunity to testify.
The Government Operations Committee had previously taken testimony on the bill and sent a memo to the Finance Committee urging them to adopt the 10 Percent for Vermont Program and move 10 percent of Vermont’s unrestricted funds to VEDA which would use it to foster economic development and renewable energy initiatives and to create the authority described in S.204 to continue to look into the creation of a state bank.
In spite of the fact that the bill died in the Finance Committee, support for a state bank has been steadily growing. We will continue with efforts to increase support to the point where the powers that be can no longer continue to ignore us. Keep checking for what we are up to and ways that you can become involved. We will also continue to send updates containing more reasons why we need a state bank and events concerning our efforts.
Senator Anthony Pollina, along with 5 other state senators has introduced S.204 which will extend the authority of the the Vermont Economic Development Authority to become a fully functioning bank. The bill will create a pilot program called “10 Percent for Vermont”. Pursuant to this legislation, the State Treasurer would deposit 10 percent of Vermont’s unrestricted funds with VEDA and VEDA, like any other bank, could leverage these funds to engage in partnership loans with community banks to foster economic development in the state and create a more vibrant economy for Vermont. The current method of financing for VEDA requires that state funds be appropriated to VEDA by the legislature, floating bonds which results in the transfer of state funds, in large part, to out of state entities, or by other means. None of these methods allows VEDA to leverage the funds that it receives to create more money like banks are allowed to do.