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Monday, November 03, 2008

Please vote NO on Issue 5!

Ohio voters have an opportunity to overturn House Bill 545, which would set the maximum interest rate on short-term loans so low that payday lenders would go out of business, by voting no on Issue 5.

If an individual decides that $200 right now is worth more to him or her than $230 two weeks from now, that should be his or her free choice. It's none of the State of Ohio's goddamn business.

Like all legislation that creates consensual crime, Issue 5 would have unintended consequences worse than the "harm" it is designed to prevent. If payday loans are made unavailable, Ohioans will pay more in late fees and overdraft fees. Merchants' losses from bounced checks will increase. Maggie Thurber points out that "In both North Carolina and Georgia, the number of bad checks written went up after payday loans were similarly regulated."

Some people, unable to obtain short-term loans from legitimate businesses, might even turn to loan sharks. The state can make a product or service illegal, but it can't eliminate the demand for that product or service, and black marketeers will step in to satisfy the demand. Issue 5 would create yet another revenue stream for organized crime.

Please vote NO on Issue 5.