Want a state-owned “public bank” to hold government money? Or a ban against a Northeast Kingdom oil pipeline? Two grass-roots advocacy groups will ask Vermonters to consider those questions at March town meetings.
The group Vermonters for a New Economy is promoting a nonbinding resolution urging the creation of a state bank to store government money and support loans through community banks and credit unions to students, homeowners, businesses and municipalities.
The group stresses the proposal wouldn’t compete with commercial banks because it wouldn’t hold individual or business deposits, just government money now invested in out-of-state entities. According to a new study, using such funds for lending in Vermont would add an estimated $340 million to the gross domestic product and, if used to finance infrastructure, could save more than $100 million in interest now going out of state.
Two dozen communities are set to consider the petition, which can be found on the website vtneweconomy.org. Those towns include Albany, Bakersfield, Barnet, Berlin, Calais, Craftsbury, East Montpelier, Enosburg, Fayston, Greensboro, Irasburg, Marlboro, Montgomery, Montpelier, Plainfield, Putney, Randolph, Richford, Rochester, Royalton, Ryegate, Tunbridge, Waitsfield and Warren.
Meanwhile, the Tar Sands Free Vermont campaign — headed by 350VT.org, the Sierra Club and National Wildlife Federation — hopes to expand on the 29 communities that supported its nonbinding “Keep Vermont Tar Sands Free” resolution last year by asking more municipalities to block the use of a 1950s pipeline to transport Canadian oil through the state.
The pipeline path runs through the Northeast Kingdom towns of Barton, Burke, Guildhall, Irasburg, Jay, Lunenburg, Newport, Sutton, Troy and Victory and intersects 15 natural waterways that lead to other parts of the state.
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