Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: payday loans

June
15th

State lawmakers: Miles to go before they sleep

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

The Legislature’s inability to approve a budget is starting to look dangerous, not just loopy.

State lawmakers are now in their third session, the Senate and House of Representatives having failed to agree on a spending plan in the first two.

The paralysis is partisan: The Senate is controlled by Republicans, the House by Democrats. Without action, much of state government could be shut down as of midnight June 30. That’s when the existing budget expires, and the Washington Constitution requires legislative approval for further spending.

While a shutdown isn’t likely, it’s got better odds than the Mayan doomsday. In the meantime, the state is running up against deadlines for preliminary actions, such as warning school employees of potential layoffs.

The Senate and House absolutely must agree on three things: an operating budget, a construction budget and a transportation package that would pay for critical highway projects around the state – including the completion of state Route 167 between Puyallup and the Port of Tacoma.

Republicans and Democrats may be within striking distance on overall spending, but they’re far apart on some of the specifics.

A couple of measures being pressed by the Senate aren’t worth fighting over. One is a move to “fix” compensation for injured workers.

As the law stands, permanently disabled workers in their 50s have the option of taking lump sum payments in lieu of lifelong pensions. A Senate bill would extend that option to workers in their 40s. This can hold until next year.

So can a measure that would let the state’s payday lenders loan more money for longer terms. It’s dumbfounding that some lawmakers cherish this industry so much that they’d hold the entire state budget hostage for its sake.

But the Senate deserves credit for trying to force education reforms. Compared to the House, it would spend more money on the K-12 system and earmark more for efforts to lift the performance of disadvantaged students.
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Feb.
25th

What’s the hurry to end-run payday loan reforms?

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Senate Bill 5312 is such a bad idea, one of its cosponsors ended up voting against it.

Even so, the legislation – essentially an end run around much-needed payday lending reforms the Legislature made in 2010 – passed the state Senate last week 30-18 and now is in the House. There it will be shepherded by state Rep. Steve Kirby, D-Tacoma, a longtime champion of the payday lending industry.

Passage in the House would be unfortunate and most certainly would result in more vulnerable, low-income people being exploited by an industry that has a long history of doing just that.
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Feb.
13th

Leave sensible eight-loan limit on payday borrowing

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

When it comes to protecting the public from itself, state Rep. Steve Kirby, D-Tacoma, has undergone a change of heart.

In years past, he fought tough restrictions on payday loans that consumer advocates sought as a way of protecting people from getting into deep financial trouble. After years of dickering on the issue, the 2009 Legislature enacted some reasonable protections for consumers – including a rule that limits borrowers to eight payday loans in a 12-month period.

That restriction was designed to prevent people from becoming overly dependent on these costly, short-term loans, and Kirby agreed to it as part of compromise legislation to avoid even tougher restrictions sought by consumer advocates.

But now, one year after the new restriction went into effect, Kirby argues that the eight-loan limit is driving cash-strapped borrowers to “the Wild West” of the Internet, where they can be victimized by unlicensed lenders who observe no caps on the number and size of loans. Read more »