Wednesday, October 22, 2008

We've Got Issues

There will be long lines in Franklin County. Not everywhere, but in some precincts. Perhaps yours. One way to avoid losing the franchise yourself is to vote early. Please, vote early.

If, like many, you find yourself lamenting the best laid plans when November rolls around (next week!), you will have to get to your polling place. The very least you can do for Democracy is to vote quickly. I'll be linking to some sample ballots later on, but for now, please familiarize yourself with the ballot issues. Voting for candidates is easy, it's the issues that hold you glued to your touchscreen.

The Secretary of State's official guide to 2008 Statewide Ballot Issues is available here. If that's too much for you, here's the Blue Bexley short version:

Issue 1: Sets clear, consistent, and early (125 days out) deadlines for the ballot access procedure of issues like... most of those listed below. On the one hand, the law as written here would have made it much easier to understand the Payday Lending petition saga. On the other hand, HB545 would have given the Lenders several more months to charge their current rates. The bottom line is that people were voting on Issue 5 this year before it was even legally certified to be on the ballot. That's not really acceptable. BB says: YES on ISSUE 1.

Issue 2: Authorizes $200m in bonds for continued environmental/revitalization purposes. Fiscal libertarians probably don't like this. Pretty much everyone else loves it. BB says YES on ISSUE 2.

Issue 3: Affirms water rights for landowners. As near as I can recall, this was part of a compromise to get the Great Lakes Water Compact enacted. Nobody seems to think that this amendment will do much of anything. I don't like addressing non-existent problems in the Constitution, so I'll be voting against this. If you think you have a better reason to vote for it, you probably do. You have my blessing. BB says VOTE YOUR CONSCIENCE on ISSUE 3.

Issue 4: Don't get me started on this. Issue 4 has been withdrawn from the ballot in exchange for promises I suspect won't be kept in any meaningful way. Suffice it to say that you should be voting for a Dem in your U.S. House race if you want any hope of action on a federal Sick Day Bill. BB says: Grrrr

Issue 5: Did you know that 50,000 cute little kittens will drown if Issue 5 passes? That the government will take away your right to own property and will arrange all marriages? The simple truth is that the payday lending industry is built on greed and exploitation. Not only was the reform passed as HB 545 reasonable, sympathetic lawmakers practically begged the industry to negotiate a compromise, and they refused. If passing Issue 5 and forcing these companies to charge bad-credit-card rates of interest instead of 391% APR ruins the industry, I have very little sympathy. On the other hand, the folks who claim that capping interest rates will put them out of businees have also claimed so many outlandish things that I don't know if I even buy their most basic argument. BB shouts from the rooftops: YES on ISSUE 5.

Issue 6: Ohio is going to have to undertake a far more sweeping overhaul of the ballot initiative process, fall victim to Constitutionally guaranteed monopolies, or come up with a casino plan of their own. It has become obvious (even before Thomas Suddes made essentially the same argument) that these are the only three possible outcomes. I don't see the overhaul happpening, and I'm not sure I'd even support it if it were to be proposed. I really didn't expect to ever encourage the legislature to come up with a casino-licensing plan to submit to the voters, but I'm pretty sure that if they don't, we'll end up with our Constitution bought-and-paid for by gambling interests. It may already be too late, as this issue has a real shot at passing. Pro-gambling folks, I concede. I'll back you up on a reasonable casino plan. But for now, BB says NO on ISSUE 6.


Local issues:

Not being a Columbus resident, I'm a little uncomfortable making this sugestion but... if you live in Columbus and have to vote on the 6 bond issues totalling 1.7 billion dollars in long-term spending, you're probably going to vote 'yes' on all of them or 'no' on all of them. Me, I'd vote for all6, but that's easy for me to say when I'm not paying for any of it. My advice: Pick one at random in the booth. Read it carefully, and decide how you're going to vote on it. Then put the same vote next to the other 5 and move on. Okay, I'm kidding. Sort of. If this method truly offends you, you're probably the sort who cares enough to read up a bit in advance.

Bexley seems to be issue free this go-round. Not even a liquor license. BB says: I like it like that.


Anonymous said...

Vote no on 5...This is the nanny state law democrat or not this is a simple snow job putting apr on a two week loan and you guys are falling for it.....391% is apr(annual percentage rate)A payday loan is over two weeks....YOUR BEING SNOWED!!!!!!listen dont take away peoples options.WISE UP VOTE NO ON ISSUE5

Steve said...

Vote Yes on Issue 5! Payday lenders are required to disclose the APR by the Truth in Lending Act so that consumers can compare loans. Unfortunately, most folks who use payday loans end up getting trapped in a debt for months and months. Certainly they didn't anticipate having to go back to a payday lender over and over again, but that's what happens for the majority of borrowers. It's time Ohioans had access to fair and reasonable loans and we end 391% APR. Vote Yes on Issue 5!

Anonymous said...

MOST PEOPLE END UP GETTING TRAPPED IN DEBT FOR MONTHS?Where did you get that data?OR DID YOU MAKE IT UP?Back that up with some independant study....15.00 per hundred. 15% no matter what the truth in lending says quit trying to mislead people by saying the majority of,or most folks.IT'S SIMPLY NOT TRUE...VOTE NO ON 5 TELL THESE SIX FIGURED SALARY ADVOCATES WE DONT NEED OUR HAND HELD....NO ON 5

Eliza S said...

Thanks for the post. I've been looking everywhere for a nice break down of the issues.

Loving the blog!

YesOn said...

I totally agree - we need to regulate and reform the pay day industry. They can't be allowed to prey on the people who can't afford their ridiculous interest rates.

Yes on Issue 5!

Bev Campbell said...

I'm really wrestling with Issue 5. On the one hand it does take advantage of people who might be behind the eight ball financially, and there are a lot of people who get caught up in that system. HOWEVER, it does fill a much needed void, and two things included in Issue 5 give me reason to seriously rethink it.
(1) It arbitrarily limits to four the number of payday loans that any person can take out in a given year;
(2) It requires that the identity information of the person taking out the loans be collected in yet another government data bank;
(3) After 4 loans in a one year period, it requires the consumer to take a $200 financial literacy course (you're already so stuck for money that you have to go to these lenders and it makes you spend more - nannying)

So as of now I will be voting NO on Issue 5 unless someone can show me a better reason I should vote YES.

Casey said...

Columbus― Vote No on Issue 5 today wins important endorsements of Ohio’s largest African American newspaper, the Call and Post, along with Bishop Harry Jackson, chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition (HILC) – a coalition of black and white faith-based community leaders from across the country.

The Call and Post says, “The bill does nothing to help Ohioans, especially Black Ohioans. This paper takes umbrage to the fact that lawmakers want to decide how families should handle their personal finances. We find this paternalistic at best – and an insult to intelligence at worst. VOTE NO on State Issue 5 on election day, Nov. 4. Individuals and families ought to have the right to determine what is best for them financially. We don’t need “overseers” overseeing our pocketbooks. Vote NO on State Issue 5.”

Who has Endorsed a “NO” vote on Issue 5?

· The Ohio Chamber of Commerce

· Ohio Grocers Association

· Ohio Christian Alliance

· The Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST)

· Americans For Prosperity

· Dr. Tom Lehman, Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions

· Property Rights, Freedom Fighters

· National Taxpayers Union

· Ohio Libertarian Party

· High Impact Leadership Coalition

· Call & Post – Ohio’s largest African American newspaper

· Lake County News Herald, Lima News, Hillsboro Times, The Newark Advocate

· Hundreds of other Ohio consumers and businesses at