Script: A man depicted as a farmer, speaking to the camera: "I've been studying this payday issue and you wouldn't believe what our politicians have been up to. They're riskin' 6,000 good-payin' Ohio jobs by passin' laws that would shut um down. If this old truck here breaks a belt before payday, I can borrow a hundred bucks, replace that belt and repay 'em $115 on payday. And that should be my choice. So, if you get a chance to sign a petition that'll give us back our financial choices and protect 6,000 good-payin' jobs, you do it. 'Cause if they won't protect our jobs and our financial choices, we will."
Video: Various shots of the farmer, mostly as he walks or stands by his red Chevrolet truck, which sits or drives along a dirt road next to what appears to be a cornfield. Soft music plays in the background.
Analysis: Payday lenders are probably a month away from knowing whether their proposed referendum will qualify for the Nov. 4 ballot, but they are wasting no time getting on the air. To make the ballot, lenders must turn in 241,365 valid signatures by Sept. 1, hence the ad's encouragement that Ohioans sign the petition.
Lenders want to overturn part of a law approved by the GOP-controlled legislature and signed in late spring by Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat. It would lower payday loans' annualized interest rates from the current 391 percent ($15 per $100 on a two-week loan) to 28 percent.
The assertion that the law would risk 6,000 good-paying jobs is based on industry arguments that lenders can't operate under a 28 percent rate cap plus a $15 origination fee, so the state's 1,500 stores will shut down. Currently, lenders can charge $45 for a two-week, $300 loan. Under the new law, the rate would be about $18.
State political leaders say payday lenders still can make it if they want to, and state records show that more than 1,000 payday stores have applied for other lending licenses, indicating that at least some might give it a try.
The farmer talks about a making a $100 loan, but statistics show that most payday loans are larger than that. The maximum is $800. Payday critics, including Ohio's elected leaders, argue that the loans drive too many people into a cycle of debt in which they repeatedly need new loans to pay off old ones. The industry denies that.
And finally, because the ad is called "farmer," we should note that farmers don't have a regular payday per se. Many are paid only a few times a year. So if this man borrows $100 from a payday lender, he'd better harvest some of that corn before the loan comes due.
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