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In rare rebuke, council overrides mayor; approves measure to try to increase bank investment in Boston

Open Media Boston reports the City Council voted 10-3 yesterday for at-large Councilor Felix Arroyo's "Invest in Boston" ordinance, under which banks that do business with the city will have to report on how they are investing funds locally.

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How exactly will this increase investment? It sounds pretty uselss.

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Actually, it's a surprisingly rational bit of blackmail. Boston has billions on deposit. The idea is that if banks want to keep sucking up the profits from investing the city's money, they have to perform. That is, they have to invest in local businesses, make money available to fund home purchases for qualified buyers without a lot of grief, and don't pull any scam foreclosures, among other stipulations.

This is a big stick Boston has had in the closet for decades and has not used. Instead, mayors have played servant to the banks. The Council showed surprising guts in demanding that we reverse the trick. If the banks want to profit from our funds, they have to dance to our tune.

I'm all for it.

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