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Arizona voters reject 400% interest rates overwhelmingly; the fight continues

Arizonans for Responsible Lending, a coalition of more than 200 businesses and nonprofit organizations, Democratic and Republican elected officials, religious community leaders, neighborhood leaders, consumer advocates, credit unions, and thousands of concerned citizens across Arizona (including Downtown Voices Coalition), is gratified by Tuesday’s election results.  With 99.8% of precincts reporting, Arizona voters rejected the payday industry-funded Proposition 200 by more than 330,000 votes, or a margin of 60% to 40%.  Despite being outspent by a margin of 64 to 1, Arizonans for Responsible Lending prevailed because voters reject 400 percent interest rates.  Period.

The proposition, which would have granted payday lenders the right to operate in Arizona indefinitely at 400% interest rates, lost in every single county in the state.  State Senator Debbie McCune Davis, Chair of Arizonans for Responsible Lending, issued the following statement:

“Arizona voters stated loud and clear: the payday loan industry must play by the rules.  It no longer gets to write its own.  By overwhelmingly defeating Prop 200, Arizonans sent the following message to the payday lenders both here and across the country: the days of 400% interest rates are numbered.  The people demand responsible lending laws.

Voters demanded fair and responsible lending practices in this election, and laws that look after consumers’ interests first.  In Arizona, we shall reinstate the Consumer Loan Act and reinforce a more-than-reasonable cap on interest rates of 36%.  As Tuesday’s resounding victories in both Arizona and Ohio proved, predatory lenders cannot survive when their practices are fully illuminated by the light of day.  They may attempt to get their way through heavy lobbying efforts or expensive initiative campaigns, but the voters understand that 400% interest rates are unacceptable, and they will reject such loose regulations every time.

We have won this battle, but the war is not over.  We fully expect to face an onslaught of payday industry lobbying dollars in the 2009 and 2010 legislative sessions, in their attempt to remove the 2010 sunset and continue charging outrageous interest rates.  However, our coalition will remain active and determined to protect the integrity of Arizona’s Consumer Loan Act and prevent the payday lenders from extending their special deal beyond 2010. Enough is enough.  We would like to thank the many people across Arizona who helped us fight this battle.   This is a victory for all of us.   And we will not rest until the usury law is back in effect and payday lenders either drop their rates to 36% or leave the state.  The days of legalized loan sharking are over.”

Arizona proposition resolution 2008

[Source: Tucson Weekly] — The payday-loan industry may be on its way out of business in Arizona.  Gay marriage is even more illegal in the state, and once again, voters have rejected the idea of giving lawmakers a raise.  With 99.1 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, here are the latest results.

The payday-loan industry suffered a stunning defeat after 59.5 percent of voters rejected Proposition 200, the Payday Loan Reform Act.  Prop 200, which was funded with more than $14 million from the payday-loan industry, would have allowed the industry to continue to operate in the state past 2010, the year in which the law that allowed them to set up shop will expire.

Business owners did not get a break from voters after the stunning defeat of Proposition 202.  The Stop Illegal Hiring Act, supported by a variety of business interests, would have granted Arizona companies additional defenses if caught with illegal workers on their payroll.  However, with the defeat — 59.1 percent of voters were saying no — the state’s employer-sanctions law, said by many to be the toughest in the nation, will remain on the books.

Voters also ensured that they will still be able to increase taxes at the ballot box by overwhelmingly rejecting Proposition 105, aka Majority Rules, which would have required that any statewide initiative that hiked taxes or fees be approved by a majority of all registered voters, not just the ones who cast ballots in the election.  A whopping 65.7 percent of voters rejected the measure…

Gay marriage became even more illegal in Arizona after 56.5 percent of the voters supported Proposition 102, which will amend the Arizona Constitution to limit marriage to being between only one man and one woman.  Arizonans rejected a broader law that would have also banned civil unions and domestic partnerships by a narrow margin two years ago…

State lawmakers will continue to be a bargain for taxpayers after 64.5 percent of voters rejected Proposition 300, which would have increased annual legislative salaries from $24,000 to $30,000.

Proposition 101, aka the Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act, remained too close to call as of Wednesday morning, when voters were rejecting it by just more than 2,100 votes.  If it were to make up the difference and somehow pass, Prop 101 would amend the state Constitution to ban the state from interfering with health-insurance options.

Arizonans will never be required to pay a sales tax on the purchase of a home after voters resoundingly approved Proposition 100, aka Protect Our Homes, which was placed on the ballot by the Arizona Association of Realtors to block the state from charging a real-estate transfer tax, a revenue mechanism in some states.  Some 76.9 percent of voters added this amendment to the state Constitution.

However, buyers of new homes will not be getting a longer guarantee on their houses after 77.9 percent of voters rejected Proposition 201.  Homebuilders successfully argued that the proposition would increase lawsuits and raise home prices…