While Issue 6 is dominating state election issues, the elusive Issue 5 is an important measure that needs voter support. In this current fiscal crisis, the need to protect citizens is only amplified. The issue, which goes after Ohio’s payday loan industry, would cap interest rates on advance loans from about 391 percent to 28 percent. Additionally, the proposal would restrict individuals from borrowing money at these businesses more than four times a year. The editorial board of The Miami Student believes that any potential negative impact to the payday loan industry incurred by this bill is offset by the need to protect those Ohio citizens in a vulnerable financial situation.
The payday loan industry has argued against Issue 5, citing the thousands of jobs that would be lost if the industry faced this type of regulation. However, the industry is lucky to have the chance to continue its business in any form, because the practice is already illegal in 15 states. Others argue Issue 5 threatens security due to the computer database it creates.
This board believes that this measure is essential in order to break the cycle of debt that many find themselves in due to unfortunate economic conditions. Additionally, the interest rate level will remain somewhat of a deterrent to payday loans because of the constricting economy. Furthermore, this will help to stop institutionalized loan sharks and make Ohio citizens think twice about the entire practice of payday loans. We should prioritize financial responsibility over self-interested predator lenders.
Our representatives in the Ohio House and Senate have already voted in favor of the bill; our support on Nov. 4 backs this legislation, entitled HB 545. If the sub-prime mortgage crisis is any indication, responsible borrowing and regulated loaning should be our top priority. This editorial board believes that Issue 5 is the best remedy we have to a statewide issue, and should earn our support.