Voting NO on issue 5 means that you favor blocking a portion of a law (section 3 of H.B. 545) recently passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Strickland which puts more restrictions on lending practices. This law mainly concerns the regulation of so called PDL (pay day loan) or short term lenders. The regulation would limit the maximum amount of a short term loan to $500, give the borrower at least 30 days to pay back the loan, and limit the interest rate to 28% APR. Under current regulations (H.B. 545 is not yet in effect), the maximum amount of a short term loan is $800, there is no minimum repayment period, and the interest rate can be substantially higher than 28% APR.
The people who are saying vote YES on issue 5 say that this would help to prevent these lenders from taking advantage of people who are in a bad situation. They also point that the loans that are being regulated are “unsecured” loans.
Huckabee gave two reasons for voting NO on issue 5:
1. The bill would cause jobs to be lost (the employees of the PDL businesses).
2. The bill would result in a loss of financial privacy.
The first reason reminds me of Jim Petro, Bob Taft, and Mike DeWine’s phone messages urging people to vote NO on the Ohio marriage amendment because it would result in a loss of jobs. How pathetic that was. Just because something creates jobs doesn’t necessarily make it good thing. We could all go around vandalizing businesses and homes, breaking their windows. This would create jobs for the businesses that make glass. We need to vote on principle, and let the economic consequences take care of themselves.
The second reason is, at least in principle, a valid reason for voting NO on issue 5. But whether or not this would in fact occur if this bill were to be made law is something that I have not fully studied. (H.B. 545 is a very long and complicated bill.) If this bill were to violate our privacy rights, then a NO vote would definitely be the right thing to do.
Other groups, such as Ohioans For Financial Freedom, have advocated against issue 5. They point out that these regulations unfairly single out PDLs, while credit card companies and other lenders could still charge excessive interest, late fees, and bank overdraft fees which have the same detrimental effect on the poor. Without PDLs, these poor people might resort to these other ways of borrowing money and might end up falling even further in debt.
Candidate for Ohio Attorney General Robert Owens is against this bill and so is the Ohio Christian Alliance.