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Photo: Testifying at CPC Hearing
Featured Article filed under Independent Business | Written by ILSR Admin | No Comments | Updated on Sep 21, 2015

What We’re Excited About

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

This update on our work recently went out to subscribers of our monthly newsletter, the Hometown Advantage Bulletin. Join our mailing list and view the archive here.

More than a decade ago, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance launched an initiative to challenge corporate concentration and make a case for a community-scaled economy. If we want a more equitable, sustainable, and democratic future, we need more businesses that are locally owned, accountable to their communities, and operating to build local wealth, not extract it.

Many people have since come to share this vision and a remarkable movement of independent businesses, grassroots groups, and elected leaders has risen up to make it a reality.

To succeed, we’ll need to change public policy. Working alongside our allies, ILSR is playing a pivotal role in defining and propelling this agenda. We’re calling for:
* an end to the tax breaks and subsidies that give some of the largest and most destructive companies a competitive edge over community-based businesses
* a banking system that shifts capital out of Wall Street and into local economies
* a built environment that fosters entrepreneurship and enables independent businesses to thrive

This year, our work has had more reach than ever.

In May, we published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal detailing the ways government policy stacks the deck against local businesses. The piece generated numerous responses, including an invitation from the Congressional Progressive Caucus to share our policy ideas at a hearing.

In June, we published an investigation of a new tactic big retailers are using to force cities to refund the property taxes their stores have already paid, bankrupting services and shifting the tax burden to residents and small businesses. The article drew over 100,000 readers to our website and helped spur legislative proposals in several states. Perhaps most important, it introduced a new audience to our research on the hidden costs of big retail chains. Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on Oct 1, 2015

Op-Ed: Community Broadband Networks Drive NC Economy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

The Roanoke Daily Herald published this op-ed about local government action for broadband networks on September 25, 2015. We were responding to an earlier Op-Ed, available here. Christopher Mitchell wrote the following op-ed. It is stunning any legislator can look at the constituents they serve in rural North Carolina and think, “‘These people don’t need… Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Stop Incineration, Waste to Wealth, Zero Waste & Economic Development | Written by Neil Seldman | No Comments | Updated on Sep 16, 2015

Paul Connett’s Zero Waste and Anti Incineration Presentation

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

Paul Connett is a zero waste super star.  A trained chemist, Paul threw himself into the anti garbage incineration movement while teaching as a chemistry professor at Lawrence University in Canton, NY.  Now retired he travels constantly to garbage trouble spots, teaching, inspiring, singing and entertaining audiences around the globe. He is author of, “The… Continue reading

Featured Article filed under The Public Good | Written by David Morris | No Comments | Updated on Sep 28, 2015

We Now Have A Private Judicial System Just for Corporations

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

In the last 20 years the Supreme Court has created a parallel judicial system to resolve disputes involving corporations that is effectively run by the very corporations whose behavior is under investigation. Here is how that judicial coup against an independent judiciary occurred. In 1925 Congress passed a simple 4-page law, the Federal Arbitration Act… Continue reading

Map: Number of banks by state.
Featured Article filed under Banking | Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Sep 1, 2015

How One State Escaped Wall Street’s Rule and Created a Banking System That’s 83% Locally Owned

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

In North Dakota, the banking sector bears little resemblance to that of the rest of the country. North Dakotans do not depend on Wall Street banks to decide the fate of their livelihoods and the future of their communities, and rely instead on locally owned banks and credit unions. With 89 small and mid-sized community banks and 38 credit unions, North Dakota has six times as many locally owned financial institutions per person as the rest of the nation, and these institutions control a resounding 83 percent of the market. Much of the difference is owed to the Bank of North Dakota. Continue reading