Letter: A movement to ban usury in Virginia
There is a grassroots movement taking hold across the state of Virginia, and we do not mean the Tea Party, but rather a bottom/up movement to ban usury in our state.
This movement takes the form of the Staunton Resolution, which calls on the cities, towns and counties of Virginia to support a 36 percent cap on all loans, including car title, payday and open-ended loans. Already over 50 localities around the state have signed on to the Staunton Resolution. At the same time, citizens, civic groups, businesses and churches have spoken up to ask the General Assembly to ban usury and predatory lending that is a stain on the reputation of Virginia and an attack on the working poor and middle class.
The support for ending usury in Virginia has been overwhelming, including the counties of Gloucester and Mathews that have both supported and passed the Staunton Resolution. The only obstacle to doing the right, decent and moral thing is the obstinacy of the General Assembly that has become captive to the deep pockets of the predatory lenders and their powerful lobby in Richmond. In the next session of the General Assembly, citizens must demand action from the legislators to outlaw usury. Citizens and communities have spoken up and spoken almost unanimously that usury is immoral and unethical, but in Virginia it remains legal.
Now it is time to hear from the men and women representing citizens and local governments. In the case of Gloucester and Mathews, we ask Sen. Norment and Del. Morgan: What is your position on usury and predatory lending? Will you commit to supporting and leading legislation to ban usury in Virginia? Voters want to know.
Michael H. Lane