An open letter to Gov. Kaine

Dear Gov. Kaine,

As your term as governor comes to an end, the focus in Virginia turns to the election to select your successor.

As you reminisce on your achievements as governor of Virginia, you will find that you earned a rightful place in the history of Virginia as a overnor who has left a substantial legacy in areas as diverse as the environment, energy, education and business. You have worked hard to ensure the economic future of our citizens in a time of national and international economic turmoil. Virginia will remain a state that is a model for others to emulate and a magnet of business and development as well as an ideal place for families.

Of course, the business of governing never ends. Employment, education, transportation and the environment are the continuing responsibilities of government that will be assumed by your successor and while it is clear that your term has enhanced lives of Virginias in many ways you know doubt intend to build upon your legacy in coming months. In that regard we encourage you to address an issue that remains a stain on the reputation of our great state. This is predatory lending including payday, car title, and open-ended lending.

Merchants of usury still operate in Virginia and charge interest rates at or beyond 400 percent APR. The General Assembly has failed multiple years to enact a reasonable cap, e.g., 36 percent APR on these loans and fees. Democrats and the Republicans in the General Assembly, a vast majority of the citizens of Virginia, and an overwhelming majority of local government entities have worked hard to support the 36 percent interest cap. Unfortunately, leadership in the General Assembly, particularly the Senate and Commerce and Labor Committee have an unusually close relationship with these merchants of usury.

We know that you do not enact legislation, but your position as governor and chair of the Democratic National Committee gives you an opportunity to speak boldly and prophetically to both candidates for Governor on the need to right this wrong. On behalf of all your grateful constituents we, ask that you take the leadership to lead to the capping of interest and fees on any loan in Virginia at 36 percent.

VaPERL, Virginia Partnership for Responsible Lending
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy
Virginia Organizing Project
Virginia Poverty Law Center
AARP Virginia
Virginians Against Payday Loans


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