Public Comments

My testimony today will address ways in which our current financial system serves to extract wealth, and the need to strengthen and enforce laws to hold banks and other financial institutions accountable to people and communities. At the same time, we must focus on creating public banks and other institutions that are designed to build community wealth and serve the public interest.

The 20 undersigned organizations are pleased to respond to New York City’s Shared Equity Request for Information (RFI). We believe that New York City should be a beacon for cooperative economics, advancing racial and gender equity and community-led development. Our organizations include cooperatives and community land trusts, as well as grassroots and member-led groups that have developed these and other shared equity strategies in Black, brown, and immigrant communities. Also included are organizations that provide critical financing, legal assistance, training and other support to community-led initiatives.

This response to the Shared Equity RFI discusses ways in which a local public bank in NYC would advance shared equity goals, and provides context on current state and municipal policy efforts toward creating a municipal public bank in NYC. Fundamentally, we see public banking as a catalyst for cooperative and community-led development in Black, brown, and immigrant communities, including those hardest hit by the pandemic.

New York City Community Land Initiative (NYCCLI) is pleased to provide information about community land trusts as a holistic shared equity model of nonprofit and collective land ownership by a community. We understand that New York City (“NYC” or “the city”) has analyzed and is providing support to CLTs through the lens of the city’s existing affordable housing programs. However, this response sets out a framework of CLTs as a more comprehensive shared equity model rooted in housing, economic and social justice – one that allows the communities that are most impacted to exercise agency over land development and stewardship not for profit but for the long-term stability of their neighborhoods. That long-term stability is the key to building community wealth.

The budget adopted by the Mayor and City Council today is the largest in New York City’s history and restores critically-needed funding for schools, health care, and other vital services.

New Economy Project stands in solidarity with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, and condemns violence and racism directed at AAPI and all BIPOC communities. We mourn the deaths of the eight people murdered last week in Atlanta: Daoyou Feng, Hyug Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Paul Andre Michaels, Soon Chung Park, Xiaojie Tan, Delania Ashley […]

New Economy Project and 17 partner organizations in the CLT Initiative seek $1.51 million in City Council discretionary funding in FY2022. We urge the Committee to support this funding request and ensure that CLTs continue to play a key role in stabilizing communities, combating speculation, and promoting a just recovery in Black, brown and immigrant neighborhoods. (See attached one-pager detailing activities and participating organizations.)

New Economy Project coordinates the Citywide Community Land Trust (CLT) Initiative, launched in FY2020 to strengthen and expand CLTs and permanently affordable housing, commercial and community spaces, across NYC. In less than two years, the Initiative has made major progress–helping to launch and expand CLTs in the South and Northwest Bronx, East Harlem and the Lower East Side, Jackson Heights, Brownsville, East New York, and beyond.

This bill creates a safe and appropriate regulatory framework for local governments seeking to establish public banks. Public banks are financial institutions created by government entities, and accountable to the people. Through public banking, cities and counties can manage their own revenues and leverage those funds to support local economic development, including affordable housing, green jobs, equitable financial services, and more.