Local Agencies Campaign to Qualify Two Ballots
COLUMBIA - Missourians for Responsible Lending and Give Missourians a Raise along with other groups and community members came together to launch a campaign to qualify two ballots for November on Saturday.
Volunteers for Missourians for Responsible Lending are collecting signatures to cap annual payday and other small loan interest rates at 36 percent. They hope that by capping the interest rates, they can help put a stop to predatory lending which has characteristics like high interest rates, excessive fees, and low consideration for a borrower's ability to repay. Most predatory lenders target people of color, low-income families, and people with disabilities. These high interest rates often send borrowers into a cycle of debt. For example, in Missouri, the average percentage rate of interest is 444.61 percent. This mean if a person were to borrow 500 dollars for a month, they would end up having to pay 684 dollars. At an interest rate of 36 percent, the borrower would only have to pay 515 dollars back.
Like Missourians for Responsible Lending, Give Missourians a Raise members want to keep community members' pockets full. They are circulating a petition to raise the Missouri minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.25 an hour.
One Columbia Resident is for the raise. Zach Rubin works at a shop in downtown Columbia for minimum wage. He says $7.25 isn't a livable wage. "I think if we raise minimum wage, not only will it help me, but I think we will see a lot more money flowing through Columbia's economy," he said.