SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – With the new legislative session beginning Tuesday, lawmakers are looking for ways to help the state’s small businesses while spurring economic growth.

There is a new push – backed by several state lawmakers, and now some Albuquerque city councilors – for New Mexico to establish a state public bank. “It’s a great low cost, very easy way to make sure small businesses and economic development projects, municipal projects of all kinds, can get capitol pretty quickly,” said Dan Mayfield, VP of the Credit Union Association.

Those behind the project say opening a public bank would keep New Mexico’s money in New Mexico, rather than being invested in global banks outside of the state – which they say will lead to better economic development for the state.

Despite its name, the “State Public Bank” would not be run by the state. It would be run by local bankers and would partner with community banks and credit unions to provide loans.

Albuquerque City Councilor Diane Gibson says this would be good, not only for Albuquerque but for communities across the state. “Some of the things it does do and will do for New Mexico is help keep more of our dollars here locally, within the state. It’ll also offer additional options for financing for projects that are really important for our communities statewide,” Gibson said.

The bank would be funded by a portion of New Mexico tax dollars. If approved, they believe a New Mexico public bank could be lending more than $500 million locally within five years.