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Latino groups say Nevada's new political maps have diluted their influence, especially in Las Vegas' Congressional District 1; and strikes that erupted in what became known as "Striketober" aren't over yet.

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Presidents Biden and Putin discuss the Ukrainian border in a virtual meeting; Senate reaches an agreement to raise the debt ceiling; and officials testify about closing the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.

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Rural areas are promised more equity from the U.S. Agriculture Secretary while the AgrAbility program offers new help for farmers with disabilities; and Pennsylvanians for abandoned mine reclamation says infrastructure monies are long overdue.

PA Payday Lending: Short-Term Loans, Long-Term Issues

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012   

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The pluses and minuses of payday lending are playing out in Harrisburg.

The state House Consumer Affairs Committee has advanced legislation that would legalize what some call "predatory" payday lending. Supporters say allowing lenders to charge annual interest rates as high as 369 percent for a two-week loan will help create jobs. However, a new report from the Keystone Research Center shows otherwise, says labor economist Dr. Mark Price.

"Payday lending, when you have an expansion of it, it certainly creates some jobs on the side of the payday lending operation. But it also destroys other jobs in the economy, because consumers are paying these excessive fees, which end up crowding out other spending in the local community."

While payday loans are born from the desperation of people needing money between paychecks, Price says those who don't qualify for them are better off in the long term than those who do.

"There are consumers that payday lenders actually do turn down and are unwilling to make them a short-term, $300 loan. If they don't get a loan, they're less likely to file for bankruptcy than people that the lenders actually do choose to make a loan to."

Lender fees such as those being considered by state lawmakers are what can turn a relatively small loan into an insurmountable mountain of debt, Price says.

"They end up having to take out another loan, and another loan and another loan - and each time, they're racking up these enormous fees, putting those households in worse shape financially."

Payday lending hits rural sections of the state hardest, Price says, areas that often have limited economic opportunities for residents to repay their debts. He notes that a higher concentration of these lenders is typical in rural communities, which he calls "a perfect landscape" for them.

The report is online at keystoneresearch.org.


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