By Matthew Mayer

This article isn’t about the pros and cons of payday loans.  For that discussion, just read this or this or this.  The facts about payday loans are clear.   They work.  They’re needed.  They need some reform, but not run out of the state.

So this article is directed at the self-serving, self-dealing politicians that comprise most of the Ohio Legislature.

Because they have voted for a de facto ban of payday loans in Ohio.  They did this despite:

1) Receiving 30,000 letters from payday loan borrowers telling them not to vote for this bill;
2) 2,500 payday loan employees chanting outside the Capitol telling them not to vote for this bill;
3) Multiple hours of testimony from the nation’s top economists, top policy analysts, payday lenders, borrowers, and mom-and-pop entrepreneurs telling them not to vote for this bill;
4) The fact that the bill will cost 6000 Ohioans their jobs during a recession;
5) The fact that the bill will cost Ohio millions in unemployment compensation as well as tax revenue
6) That the bill will cost associated vendors countless millions.

What these politicians did was simply to ignore what everyone had to say.  They ignored what their constituents said.  They ignored what some really, really smart people said.

They told 6000 Ohioans, in an open forum, “We do not care that you are going to lose your job”.

They told thousands of Ohioans, “We do not care if your grandmother needs emergency medicine, that your car needs repairs so can get to your job, or that you just need to make ends meet this week and are a little short.”

They told dozens of small businessmen who put everything they had into their stores, “We do not care if you go bankrupt”.

They told everyone even remotely involved in the payday loan industry in Ohio, “We do not care that we are taking away your choices”.

What they told all these people, and even those Ohioans who had never heard of a payday loan, “We only care about being re-elected or holding another elected office”.

“We only care about ourselves”.

In other words, the politicians who were voted in to allegedly represent the people of Ohio and act in their best interest have totally and utterly betrayed their voters.   They put in earplugs as their fellow human beings desperately begged for their jobs, or to hold onto the one outlet that gave them a loan on nothing more than a promise to repay.

How cynical.  How shameful.  How sad.

For the legislative process.  For Ohio.   For America.

So here’s the deal:  If you want to keep payday loans in the state, call or Email the Speaker of the House, Senate President, and the Governor (contact info below), and respectfully tell them you want real reform. You want the reasoned, middle road.  You want payday lenders to earn their $15 per hundred borrowed, you want a two-week loan period with one 60-day payment plan per calendar year, and you want a database so people can only have one loan out at a time.

No threats to these gentlemen.  Give them a chance to do the right thing.  They know in their hearts it’s the right thing, but once something becomes political, facts don’t matter anymore.

If they do the right thing, Ohioans will rejoice.  Literally.  The politicians will realize they have served the will of the people and that can never be taken away from them.  They can stand up before anybody and say, “I did the right thing.  I made a mistake, but I realized it was wrong and fixed it.  That should be enough for you to re-elect me.”

That’s a stand I’d be proud of my representative for taking.

But if they don’t do the right thing…

If they let this go through….

There’s going to be Hell to pay.  Literally.  The politicians will realize that by betraying the people’s trust that they have reaped the whirlwind.

How so?

The people of Ohio will strike back.  Hard.  The politicians who rammed this legislation through will be made to recognize that if you betray the people’s trust, it comes with a hefty price.

They’ll be hit where it hurts.  They took something from us.  They took our trust and threw it in the crapper.  They took our votes, said, “Thank you!”, and proceeded to defile them by acting against our best interest even though we were screaming in their face that we didn’t want them to do anything of the kind.

So if they don’t do what’s right, we will take something from them and show them how it feels.

We will engage in civil disobedience. It’ll be targeted at those members of Ohio Assembly who voted for HB 545, as well as those in the Senate, who are up for elected office.  In this day and age, it’s easy to make life miserable for those who are in office and those seeking to stay in office.  And we will.

It’s not a pleasant course of action, but let’s remember….

They started it.

Because if they screwed over the folks on this one, what are they going to do for an encore?

Senate President Bill Harris
Statehouse
Room #201, Second Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Telephone: 614/466-8086
Email: SD19@mailr.sen.state.oh.us

Speaker Jon Husted
77 S. High St
14th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 644-6008
Fax : (614) 719-3591
Email Address: district37@ohr.state.oh.us

Gov. Ted Strickland
Governor’s Office
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215-6108
Phone/Fax
Fax: (614) 466-9354

The phone number to call is 614-466-2000.Tell the operator you want to weigh in on House Bill 545 and you will be given instructions

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