In Ohio, payday lending vultures have secured a legislature: Brent Larkin

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CLEVELAND – Say this about most members of the Ohio General Assembly: When they’re bought, they stay bought.

The Faustian bargain between state lawmakers and their seedy friends in the payday loan industry bends, but never ends.

The payday predators’ grip on this group of losers is so indestructible that it can survive a smell of scandal so rancid it increases the chances of a November nightmare for Republicans seeking a post statewide. .

It could survive the shame that an Ohio House president is forced to resign in disgrace as the FBI focuses on President Cliff Rosenberger’s relationship with payday lenders.

He could survive the havoc wrought within the GOP caucus as former President Larry Householder and his motley team of supporters attempt to wrest power from the ruling Republican majority.

He can survive widespread rumors of wire-wearing lobbyists working hard to try and trick lawmakers into committing crimes.

If lawmakers had reason to be concerned in recent days, it’s probably because they should be.

Nevertheless, they refused to be afraid directly.

With rumors of indictments and investigations bouncing around their evil little heads, the Republicans who run this cesspool have stubbornly refused to act in the best interests of the working class in Ohio.

Instead, they once again sold them in favor of the payday lenders who are scamming the working class of Ohio with the highest short-term interest rates in the United States.

They sold them because payday lenders poured tons of cash into their campaign coffers, both in publicly disclosed contributions and in undisclosed black money allowed by law.

They sold them, in part because the morally bankrupt people of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce are covering them up.

This group of intellectually dishonest “business leaders” has always supported the practice of hurting working mothers who need to borrow a few dollars to feed their children.

On Wednesday morning, in the capital of the most backward state north of the Mason-Dixon Line, Ohio House leaders reneged on their pledge to help break the cycle of debt that is destroying lives.

This betrayal came when the House Government’s Accountability and Oversight Committee refused to pass a bill that made midsize progress in protecting Ohioians from payday lenders who now charge high rates. ‘interest on short-term loans greater than 500%.

The compromise bill was negotiated by Pro Tempore House Speaker Kirk Schuring, a Republican from the Canton area.

But instead of heeding Schuring’s recommendations, his colleagues humbled him, saying they needed more time to digest the changes.

The leaders of the late movement were Republican lower-state representatives Bill Seitz and Dorothy Pelanda, who do not have to hold public office.

There is no need to delay when you’ve already had more than 3,400 days to think about what to do about payday loans.

Despite appearances, not all who run the legislature are stupid. If Republican leaders don’t want to be remembered for contributing to a political disaster in this year’s statewide election, they will fix that in the coming weeks.

In November 2008, Ohioans voted in near record numbers to cap annual payday loan rates at 28 percent.

But payday lenders quickly found a loophole. And since November 2008, lawmakers have brazenly defied the will of the people by refusing to shut it down.

Payday lenders are playing dirty. They are wicked people, so wicked that some have developed a habit of challenging the integrity of the good supporters of the reform effort.

And while Rosenberger deserves the presumption of innocence, he will surely live to regret his relationship with those bottom eaters.

Last March, Rosenberger told me that he would seriously consider the need for payday loan reform.

Then, on the morning of April 26, 2017, Rosenberger called to say he had decided to support a reform bill similar to the one passed in Colorado. This bill, widely regarded as a national model, offers Colorado residents much more protection than the one that derailed on Wednesday.

Rosenberger made this promise almost a year ago.

And three times in the past few weeks, I have asked for an answer to this simple question: What has happened since that phone conversation to get the speaker to change his mind and follow Colorado’s exemplary example. ?

Rosenberger’s spokesperson provided details of the House’s deliberations on payday loans.

But he did not provide a response from the speaker on what happened to change Rosenberger’s mind.

Maybe the FBI agents should ask.

Maybe they already have.

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Vote “Yes” on number 9

Voters in Cuyahoga County are among the most generous in the country. For years, they have increased their tax burden to support vital human services, the arts, Metroparks, libraries and even sports facilities.

On May 8, they will be asked for another generous gesture – a two-year renewal of a € 3.9 million social service tax that they first approved in 2013.

The levy is not a new tax. It will simply maintain the existing tax used to create a secure safety net for the county’s most fragile citizens, especially its needy children. Passing number 9 would be a wise and charitable investment in the future of Cuyahoga County.

Brent Larkin was the editorial director of the Plain Dealer from 1991 until his retirement in 2009.

To reach Brent Larkin: [email protected]

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