An Arizona legislative committee has voted 6-1 to advance a bill authorizing a state task force to study the feasibility of a state-owned bank. S.B. 1301 goes on to Arizona’s State Senate for debate.

According to Matt Stannard of the Public Banking Institute, the only comment against the bill came from the Arizona Bankers Association. Stannard wrote that the bankers likely believe that “a state-owned bank would compete with, and not help, small banks in the state.”

We know that in Massachusetts we’ll be facing the same concern from our own smaller, independent banks. This FAQ, written by working group member Steve Snyder, details opportunities for cooperation between a state-level public bank and community banks. And in addition to the points Steve makes, keep in mind that the Bank of North Dakota, the US’s only state-owned public bank, has a strong record of support for community banks there. In fact, there are more community banks in North Dakota per capita than any other state.