Thursday, October 23, 2008

State Issues

I'm going to pause the incessant national election coverage and shine the light of my penetrating gaze on the ballot issues here in the great state of Ohio. The important thing here for those of you in the other 49 states and the rest of the world is the principle, so that will be the focus. If you want some details, here's the report, which details everything I'm going to skewer. I also found more info on if you don't want to deal with the PDF file. And I'm going to do this with little knowledge on the issues going in (except Issue 6, which has been getting an assload of coverage and I've received multiple mailings). So, without further blathering:

Issue 1 - Constitutional amendment to provide for earlier filing deadlines for statewide ballot initiatives.

What it does - Change deadline for submitting signatures on initiatives from 90 days pre-election to 125 days pre-election.

I will vote Yes. I do so because it will streamline the process and hopefully lead to less wasted time in printing initiatives that then get bumped off the ballot. It's really more procedural minutia, so I won't spend a lot of time on it here.

Issue 2 - Constitutional amendment to authorize the state to issue bods to continue the Clean Ohio program for Environmental Revitalization and Conservation.

What it will do - Borrow $400 million for environmental conservation, preservation and revitalization purposes.

I will vote No. This is, in essence, another damned bipartisan spending bill (the pro argument includes support from Governor Strickland-D and US Senators Voinovitch-R and Brown-D) . The state, which is facing a budget crunch, gets to take on millions of dollars in debt for public works and land buying. This is the same problem I have with Washington: the tendency to have the government do the spending to solve problems that can and should be addressed locally, or through other means. It's a trend in both parties that needs to be reversed.

Issue 3 - To amend the Constitution to protect private property rights in ground water, lakes and other watercourses.

What it will do - Creates constitutional amendment protecting property rights along the with passage of the Great Lakes Water Compact.

I will vote Yes. I will, generally, always vote in favor of any amendment which is designed to protect an individual right. This amendment is designed to strengthen already assumed rights, and as such gets my support. Simple enough.

Issue 5 -Referendum on legislation making changes to check cashing lending, sometimes known as “payday lending,” fees, interest rates and practices

What it does - Stops legislation that would put cap on Payday Loan interest rates

I will vote No. While payday loans are possibly the worst thing you can intentionally do with your paycheck, they can also be better than the overdraft charges. Last time I got one of these loans, it saved me 15 bucks. It comes down to restricting the free choice of individuals. The existing law requires an assload of disclosure, put a reasonable limit on how much you can get, and otherwise leave it up to common sense. Tie up an industry with "reasonable" interest rates (28% as opposed to the obscene 391% APR ($15 fee per $100)) and it will go out of business, with more people out of jobs, and a financial choice taken away. Consumer protection is one thing, this is paternalistic government.

Issue 6 - To amend the Constitution by initiative petition for a casino near Wilmington in southwest Ohio and distribute to all Ohio counties a tax on the casion

What it does - Would allow one $600,000,000 resort/casino in Ohio.

I'm still undecided, but leaning toward No. This has been the issue that's been advertised in the state more than either presidential candidate. Endless commercials, especially by the No committee. He'll, I got another big-assed mailer from them today on it. I'm all for letting casinos in the state to create jobs and dump that money back into the counties. And despite what the No's say, it's better to do it than not do it. But my problem is enshrining it in our state Constitution. I'm going to have to look at it even more than I have before I can make up my mind for sure.

So that's it. Based on conservative principles, that's how I see each issue. If you think I got my principals wrong, well, I've had my ass chewed for less.


Satyavati devi dasi said...

I don't live in Ohio and thus have no say in whatever yall conservative folk want to do with your votes, but for what it's worth I'd be voting yes on the environmental issue and absolutely yes on payday loan caps.

Usury of that nature is obscene and needs to be stopped. I agree that people need to make themselves better informed when they take such a drastic step, and they don't usually do so. However, I think that there ought to be a limit on the amount of interest these people can rape the public with.

I don't think dropping a 398% interest rate to say 40% would put all that many people out of jobs. People are still going to need payday loans and some are still going to default on them even if you gave them a 10% rate. It would just make the chaos they get themselves into a little less devastating. So I don't think that the payday loan people are going to find themselves suddenly in a humungous financial bind.

Anyway, you knew I was gonna say all that.


Beth said...

I'd be voting yes on the environmental issue and absolutely yes on payday loan caps.

Well then, besides Patrick's excellent reasons for voting NO on these issues (which mirror my own reasons for voting NO on them), then Saty's endorsement of YES is another reason for me to vote NO on them.

As for issue 6, my legal friend says it is a bad idea because it sets a legal presidence for being able to circumvent any Ohio municipality's zoning laws if it passes. Issue 6 is a definite NO.

Patrick M said...

Saty: I knew you'd say something like that. As I sated, it's an obscene interest rate. And I'm sure not every payday loan place will close. But when you restrict a business's ability to make a profit, they're going to cut shit.

Beth: As I said, despite my desire to allow the casino in, it's the way the law is written that makes it bad.

BTW, are they advertising it up your way as much as they are here?

Satyavati devi dasi said...

You're leaving out a very important part of the 'free market' mentality.

Drop your interest rate from 398% to 40%. All the people who have been your customers are going to continue to be your customers and if the contract they signed was for 398% then they're SOL. They'll continue to take out new loans at 40% to pay off that 398% you screwed them for before.

But all the people who were previously scared away by countless tv shows and financial advice about payday loans are going to show up now that you've cut your rate. They're going to believe that it's safe now (even though it's not) and that you're not predatory anymore (even though you are) and they will be flocking in droves.

Thus you'll more than make it up in profit.

This is the philosophy that's keeping the construction company my husband works for going. Companies all around are folding and they just signed half a dozen new contracts. Why? Because they build a damn good house cheaper than the guy down the road. If you build 36 $130K houses in a year you've beat the shit out of the guy who builds 5 $500K houses.
They're building a bigass gaudy monstrosity that costs a fortune and walking around like they're all that, but you're still kicking his ass on the bottom line.

This is capitalism, isn't it? Cut your price and increase your volume. Payday loan places will probably see a spike in business since people won't be so feared o' them anymore (yeah, that's dialect).

And Beth:

Saty's endorsement of YES is another reason for me to vote NO on them.

This is probably the most smallminded and ignorant thing I've ever seen you say.

If you want to be convinced of something, go on Patrick's merits and not what I say. First of all, this 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' mentality can set you up for a lot of problems because you may not evaluate what I'm saying rationally (and might miss some enlightement in the process), but second of all because it's just a knee-jerk and pretty damn ignorant.

Toad734 said...

Not that I particulary care about these issues in Ohio a couple things made me think:

If you are always for individual rights, I assume you didn't vote against gay marriage which I believe was on the ballot the last election.

If you are for individual rights, why do you care if there is a casino no where near you which will help your states fiscal problems? If someone wants to build a casino, why do you want the government to tell them no? If someone wants a night of gambling, why do you feel it is your right to tell them no?

That seems like you are voting for big government to me, not small government which you always advocate.

Patrick M said...

I assume you didn't vote against gay marriage which I believe was on the ballot the last election.

As a matter of fact, I did vote against that. Two years ago, though I wold have voted for a simple amendment that defined traditional marriage. But this was a bad amendment that went far beyond just defining marriage and might have affected me in the custody problems I was having, because it essentially stated that the state would not recognize anything except an actual marriage (which affects unmarried straight couples as well). Now though, I would have probably voted against it on principle.

As for the casino, the devil is in the details. If it were a proper amendment, it would simply allow the creation of casinos in Ohio, and I would easily vote for it, because that would be in support of individual rights. But the current amendment, which I'm still on the fence on, is really badly written. I need to study it more. If you feel like it, go ahead and read the language.

Toad734 said...

No I don't feel like it.

So you are against the banning of gay marriage?

Patrick M said...

I'm in between on this one. Shaw actually put forward the best idea on this. You have a sacramental marriage within your church, which includes all the vows and stuff that marriage entails, and depending on the church, can exclude gay marriage. You have a civil union which is a legal arrangement between two consenting adults, with no limits on who you you can have a union with. And other than maybe a sticker on the union indicating where you were married, the religious service and the legal arrangements are separate.

That may be the only way to please everybody but the zealots on both sides.

Beth said...

Lighten up Saty, I was joking! Or did you miss where I said my thoughts mirror Patrick's? Just voting opposite of what you would is like icing on the cake though, sweet!

wildturkey45 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Satyavati devi dasi said...

Alrighty then, apologies, Beth.

But yall can see why I'm defensive around here, jeez.

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Patrick M said...

Jeff: To clarify, off-topic rants get deleted.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Patrick, cmon, no insight-n-observation on my astute comments about cranking up profit margins by cutting prices?

I would have thought you'd be all over that.

Ah, again I go to bed disappointed....

Patrick M said...

So damned demanding. Have to get into esoteric arguments instead of just sleeping. No sex, no chance of sex, not even time for sex with myself. Damn, it sucks being a single blogger.

Saty: Drop your interest rate from 398% to 40%.

There are states where they've had to drop rates. If it bumped up profits to do it, or balanced out at all, they'd be doing it everywhere.

But you're talking about a 90% reduction in their income. so if you're getting 100 people a week, you'd have to jump it to 1000 to bring in the same amount. But then you have the administrative costs go up approximately 90%, so you're making the same money coming in, but getting less bang for your buck. And if you have 10x the customers, you have to hire more people. There goes a whole lot more profit.

I can't exactly tell you what margins they operate on, but the numbers don't add up, and a lot of them will bail out quick. All because the government thinks it should make decisions for individuals.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

So damned demanding. Have to get into esoteric arguments instead of just sleeping. No sex, no chance of sex,

C'mon, Patrick, that's as close to 'what really living with me is like' as is possible on a blog!!! I'm trying to help you not feel so single!!! (cause I'm crushin and all...)

If it weren't a blog, it'd be a leeeeettle different, but trust me, the esoteric arguments are forever bandied about.

Patrick M said...

Okay, I'm properly scared now. :)