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Ohio Referendum to Clamp Down on Payday Lenders Gets Closer to the Ballot

Woman holding sign with "591" crossed out
Andy Chow
Statehouse News
Advocates for payday loan reform rally outside of the Statehouse in November 2017.

Advocates pushing for a crackdown on payday lenders are one step closer to getting their reform proposal on the November ballot. The group says they’re tired of waiting on lawmakers to act, so they’re going straight to the voters. 

Ohioans for Payday Loan Reform delivered their first batch of petitions to the attorney general’s office. The proposed ballot issue would cap the interest rates of payday loans at 28 percent.

Currently, the group’s Carl Ruby says, the first payment on a loan can be up to a third of someone’s monthly income.

“So if you’re falling behind on monthly expenses one month and take out a loan and then the next month a third of your income is going toward that first payment, there’s no way they’re going to be able to make it.”

Voters approved a similar measure 10 years ago, but Ruby says this measure would close loopholes the industry has used to still raise interest rates. Opponents from the payday loan industry say this undermines the free market and could wipe out their storefronts.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.