Missouri Payday Loan Initiative (2012)
The proposed measure is sponsored by a group called Missourian's for Responsible Living.
Text of measure
The ballot title for the petition relating to initiative reform reads:
Shall Missouri law be amended to limit the annual rate of interest, fees, and finance charges for payday, title, installment, and consumer credit loans and prohibit such lenders from using other transactions to avoid the rate limit?
State governmental entities could have annual lost revenue estimated at $2.5 to $3.5 million that could be partially offset by expenditure reductions for monitoring industry compliance. Local governmental entities could have unknown total lost revenue related to business license or other business operating fees if the proposal results in business closures.
Payday loans are generally a low, single payment loan that customers repay when their next paycheck is received. According to reports, loan amounts usually range from $100-$500.
The Missouri Division of Finance reports that in 2010 there were an estimated 1,040 payday loan stores and 2.43 million payday loans in the state of Missouri.
A 2007 study by the state division found that of 3,700 borrowers, the average age was 43 and the average income was about $24,000.
A lawsuit was filed on August 18, 2011 in Cole County Circuit Court. The lawsuit argues that the ballot summary is "inadequate and unfair." Additionally, the suit notes that the cost estimate does not address all possible costs.
According to reports, the plaintiff is John Prentzler, director of auto operations at AutoStart USA. Prentzler is represented by Kansas City attorney Todd Graves and Jefferson City attorney Chuck Hatfield.
Specifically the lawsuit highlights that the lengthier fiscal note attached the the measure outlines a gloomier economic impact than what is outlined in the ballot language. State estimates say that the measure could cost the state between $2.5 - $3.5 million, however, plaintiffs point to a report by a University of Missouri economics professor and former director of the Show-Me Institute that argues that the impact could be approximately $57 million in the first year should the measure be approved.
A second lawsuit was filed on August 19, 2011 in Cole County Circuit Court. Contrary to the lawsuit filed by critics of the measure, the second lawsuit was filed by proponents. They argue that the fiscal note ignores testimony by state and local agencies that found that the proposed measure would have no cost on their budgets. Additionally, the suit notes that the fiscal note relies on the expertise of a someone who has testified against the regulations in the past.
Path to the ballot
- See also: Missouri signature requirements
To qualify for the ballot, the initiative requires signatures from registered voters equal to 5% of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor's election from six of the state's nine congressional districts. Signatures on behalf of all initiative petitions for the 2012 ballot are due to the secretary of state’s office by no later than 5 p.m. on May 6, 2012.
- The Kansas City Star,"The Star’s editorial | Scandalous payday loan rates prompt petitions," August 14, 2011
- OzarksFirst.com,"Ballot Initiative Could Cap Payday Loan Rates at 36 Percent," August 11, 2011
- Missouri Secretary of State,"Initiative Petition Relating to Payday, Title, Installment, and Consumer Credit Loans Approved for Circulation for 2012 Ballot," August 9, 2011
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch,"Payday loan initiative petition moves forward," August 10, 2011
- Associated Press,"Legal challenge filed over Mo. ballot measure," August 21, 2011
- Columbia Daily Tribune,"Payday loan initiative faces challenge," August 19, 2011
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch,"Two lawsuits filed over Missouri payday loan ballot measure," August 22, 2011