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[Download PDF] January 30, 2024 In this year’s budget, New York has a tremendous opportunity – thanks to federal funding made available through the Worker Ownership, Readiness, and Knowledge (WORK) Act – to align with 22 other states by establishing a NYS Worker Ownership Center. The WORK Act is a new federal law designed to […]

Today’s hearing poses two urgent questions for New York State policymakers: “Why did Signature Bank fail?” and “What can be done to prevent future bank failures in New York?” My testimony primarily will focus on how public banking can strengthen New York’s financial sector in ways that promote responsible lending, equitable reinvestment, and racial and economic justice.

The undersigned 113 organizations call on you to enact the Community Land Act, an urgently-needed set of bills that gives community land trusts (CLTs) and other nonprofits tools to develop and preserve permanently-affordable housing, community and commercial space, and other neighborhood assets. By taking land off the speculative market, CLTs protect public investment in affordable housing and maintain affordability over generations.

We write to express our strong opposition to A5053, an act relating to regulating so-called earned wage advance (“EWA”) services. This bill is a direct threat to New York’s long-standing usury protections and would authorize predatory loan products, undermining consumer and worker protections and exacerbating wealth extraction from our state’s low income communities and communities of color.

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Over the past fifteen years, New York City’s CLT movement has grown significantly. Amidst the city’s growing housing affordability and homelessness crises, several grassroots movements coalesced around CLTs. We collaborated with the Pratt Center for Community Development to showcase the powerful and growing movement for CLTs in NYC.

This year, the City of New York will collect more than $100 billion in revenue, from taxes and other sources, to fund public services. Currently, most of this money is placed on deposit with large, commercial banks that systematically harm New Yorkers and finance fossil fuels, speculative real estate, and other destructive industries. Public banking offers a bold alternative, and we urge the City Council to take immediate steps toward establishing a public bank, starting with swiftly passing “The People’s Bank Act.”

We write to express our alarm over recent reports that hundreds of millions of dollars in public deposits belonging to New York local governments are held at failed Signature Bank. Our coalitions, which include dozens of community and labor groups representing hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, strongly urge you to pass the New York Public Banking Act (S1754/A3352) this session and give local governments a sorely-needed “public option” for holding public deposits.

The Community Land Act is a bold legislative package that will give CLTs and other nonprofits tools to acquire land for permanently affordable social housing, affordable commercial and community spaces, and other critical needs. We urge the Committee and Council to pass the Community Opportunity to Purchase Act, or COPA (Int. 196), Public Land for Public Good (Int. 637), and Resolution 38 in support of the NYS Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, or TOPA.