Monday, January 31, 2011

Money talks...and often yells.

As the legislature begins again this week, let us sing the praises of 39 people who are whole-heartedly supporting good government--through their contributions to the gubernatorial campaigns of Steve Beshear, Democrat, and David Williams, Republican.

That is their right, even if all but 5 live outside Kentucky.

That is their right even if all 39 gave the same amount to BOTH Beshear and Williams. (Bi-partisan, you say; civic minded, you say; ..ah, but wait...)

That is their right even if it appears that all 39 are members of, or have strong ties to the family that owns 124 check cashing outlets throughout Kentucky--more than any other firm.

All of this came out in a recent story in the Courier-Journal, which reminds us the highest paid lobbyist before the legislature is registered as a lobbyist for the check cashing industry..and that in his pre-governor days, Mr. Beshear was also a lobbyist for that industry.

During his time--as lobbyist and governor--bills before the legislature would cap the annual rate of interest these firms may charge at 36%. (Some loans currently carry interest rates as high as 400%!!) None of these bills has ever passed. In part I assume because the industry and its lobbyists appear before the legislature, and with a straight face, tell them they cannot make a living with a measely 36% cap. (And with a straight face, a majority of legislators believe them.)

Or maybe's its those good government contributions to candidates Beshear and Williams..and I suspect to other members of the General Assembly,too, though I do not have those records before me.

To be fair, Governor Beshear says he supports the 36% cap, now. Senate President Williams hasn't made a final decision.

Were I a betting man, I would bet the 36% cap doesn't get through this time either.

If so, then we citizens..all of us, not just those who are forced sometimes to take out these exorbitant loans..all of us should do some yelling.

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