Establishing a public bank—a financial institution owned by a public entity, like a city or state government, that is accountable to the public—became a key strategy in pursuit of this new economic vision.4 New Economy Project began to convene groups around the idea of public banking in 2015, and in 2018 launched the Public Bank NYC (PBNYC) coalition.5
The coalition gathered working-class Black, brown, and immigrant New Yorkers to arrive at a bold vision. They called for investing New York City’s municipal funds—including those generated through taxes and payments from state and federal government—in local community needs, including permanently affordable housing, community controlled financial institutions, small and worker-owned businesses, and community solar and other measures to address the climate crisis.
Now, in this third year of the pandemic, as the city seeks to rebound from repeated shutdowns, the goals of PBNYC seem even more necessary. The coalition is urging policymakers to learn from the past decade of one-sided economic recovery and choose instead to restore public control over public funds.