Payday lending a viable option

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An entire industry is under siege in Kentucky.

Special interest groups are lobbying state lawmakers to pass House Bill 182, an ill-conceived and misguided piece of legislation that will destroy Kentucky's payday lending industry while adding to the state's unemployment rolls and increasing the amount of unused retail space.

Payday lending stores provide a viable, legal product that Kentuckians want, need and use. Stores around the state and in our community provide customers access to short-term loans that provide cash for emergencies, groceries, prescriptions, household supplies, school fees and discretionary spending.

HB 182 will eliminate payday lending in Kentucky. The bill's strict mandates make it financially impossible for payday lenders to continue to provide a product used by nearly 200,000 Kentuckians a year. Without payday loans, Kentuckians will be forced to use more expensive alternatives such as unregulated Internet loans, bounced check fees and bank overdraft charges.

If the legislation passes, more than 2,000 people who work in payday lending stores will be out of a job. More than 600 retail locations will close, increasing the amount of vacant commercial real estate across Kentucky and inflicting economic damage on landlords.

The state's economy will also lose. The payday lending industry provides $35 million in payroll, $20 million in rent, maintenance and utilities, and $32.5 million in goods and services purchased from Kentucky vendors.

When cash is tight or when consumers need quick access to affordable cash, they turn to payday lenders.

HB 182 is an assault on capitalism and free markets. The government should not dictate how people spend their money and how businesses operate.

Kaye Milby

Cynthia Wethington

Katie Stallard