Taking from the Poor

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A group taking aim at payday lenders by pushing for a 36 percent cap on interest rates is beginning to get its message heard. Communities Against Payday Predators drew a crowd of about 60 to the Rainier Community Center last Saturday, December 9.

Several consumers delivered horror stories about getting caught in the cycle of loans—which have an average annualized interest rate of 391 percent—before a panel of commentators that included King County Council Member Larry Gossett and City Council Member Tom Rasmussen.

On Monday, the council and the mayor voted to prioritize protecting consumers from predatory payday lenders in the city's legislative agenda.

Taking from the Rich

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Democratic leadership in Olympia decided to replace zealous income-tax advocate Rep. Jim McIntire (D-46, North Seattle) as head of the Finance Committee with the more even-keeled Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond). While Hunter—with his high-wage Microsoft constituents—might seem less inclined to radical changes in the tax code, the move is actually encouraging to lefty groups, who say his less-polarizing stance may end up moving tax reform along in a way McIntire could not.

Moreover, progressive tax-reform advocates like the Washington Tax Fairness Coalition give Hunter high marks and have already set up a January 9 meeting with him to discuss their agenda to put the spotlight on corporate tax breaks.

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