Commentary

If lawmakers override this veto today, they will have truly hit rock bottom

The North Carolina House has scheduled five bills for veto override votes today and has been explained in this space previously, there is no good reason to take such action. Each of the vetoes Governor Cooper issued on these measures made (and makes) eminent sense and the best thing lawmakers can do is, for once, admit their mistakes and head back to the drawing board on each matter.

If there is one bill on today’s calendar, however, that stands out as the most outrageous proposal — both from a substantive and process standpoint — it has to be the bill to impose a new and unwarranted “tax” on the struggling consumers who find themselves forced to patronize high interest loan shops.

As we reported in early July , House Bill 140 constitutes an absurd giveaway to the high cost lending industry. Under language added to the bill in the session’s waning hours – language that was never discussed previously in a committee or even as the subject of another “stand alone” bill – loan shops would get new opportunities to sell an especially predatory product known as credit property insurance. As Cooper said in his veto message:

“Making small loans more expensive by expanding credit insurance can drive borrowers further into debt, especially those who can least afford it. If this bill becomes law, consumers will have higher-cost loans because they will be borrowing the money to pay the credit insurance premiums. Borrowers who need short-term loans should not have to pay more for unnecessary insurance.”

There is literally no reason to pass this bill other than to implement a straight giveaway/pay-off to a predatory industry that bought big time political influence with super-sized campaign contributions. There’s not even a plausible conservative ideological or pro-deregulation argument for the proposal in a business that’s always been (and always will be) closely regulated.

The bottom line: If the North Carolina House actually passes this bill today over the Governor’s veto, it will truly have hit rock bottom. Let’s hope lawmakers of both parties (and we know there are members in both caucuses who understand what this bill and industry are all about) find their consciences and join together to do the right thing.

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