The good folks looking to raise the minimum wage one whole dollar and stop predatory lending in the Show-Me state turned in their signatures yesterday.
But the Bankers tried one last time to keep you from voting on this important issue, and keep the money a-flowin' from Missourians' pockets to out-of-state CEOs.
From the St. Louis Beacon:
Lawyers for the opponents issued a joint statement late Sunday calling for the payday-loan-hike petitions to be tossed out.
Said lawyers Edward Greim and Chuck Hatfield: "On April 6, 2012, a Circuit Court Judge ruled the ballot title in this petition to be invalid and deceptive to voters. Despite that ruling, Missourians for Responsible Lending continued to deceive voters and collect signatures. We call on the Secretary of State to honor the Circuit Court’s ruling and reject the signatures immediately.”
Unsurprisingly, Missourians for Equal Credit Opportunity released a similarly charged statement. From StL Today:
"While we have confidence the court's decision that invalidated their petition will be upheld on appeal, we also know in the meantime an active challenge to their signatures is needed due to a pattern of abuse of the electoral process that has already been documented,"
Big surprise here. Missourians for Equal Credit Opportunity and opponents to Payday Lending Reform have spent millions of dollars on deceiving commercials, trying to confuse voters, and are committed to spending "substantial amounts" to defeat the initiative already.
The Payday Lending Reform ballot initiative organizers released a statement yesterday. From the St. Louis Beacon:
“We expect all of the valid signatures submitted today to be counted,” said the Rev. James Bryan, treasurer of Missourians for Responsible Lending. “The payday lending industry and the hired guns working for their shadowy front group pulled out all the stops to protect their four hundred percent interest rates. They've threatened churches and faith leaders, lied to and harassed voters on the streets, and worked to disenfranchise the citizens who signed petitions -- but we have prevailed.”
Also, from the St. Louis Beacon:
Said the Rev. Dr. James T. Morris, treasurer of Give Missourians a Raise: “As payday lending executives and other CEOs get richer, regular people in Missouri are struggling to make ends meet across Missouri. It’s wrong to pay people less than $8 an hour and charge them 400 percent interest rates. These initiatives are important steps forward to an economy that works for all of us.”
I look forward to see what the bankers do next.