The battle over Ohio's payday lending law traveled to Akron on Wednesday in anticipation of state Issue 5, which voters will consider next month.
Jason Gloyd, chairman of the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST), is on a cross-state campaign designed to encourage voters to reject Issue 5.
A ''no'' vote on the issue would repeal parts of a new state law that places a 28-percent cap on interest rates charged by loan companies.
Supporters of the new law say it protects borrowers from excessive interest rates charged by the payday loan stores that have grown in numbers across the state.
A group of payday lender supporters calling itself ''Ohioans For Financial Freedom'' filed more than 218,000 additional signatures with the state last Thursday, ensuring the issue will be on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Gloyd criticized the new law, arguing that it creates another government ''Big Brother'' by developing a database of information on the loan customer and the amount borrowed. It also forces customers who take two loans within three months to take part in an education program.
Gloyd said the Hamilton County-based COAST is not affiliated with payday lenders, who have claimed the law will result in the closing of the businesses, the loss of 6,000 jobs and the rights of citizens to take out loans without government oversight.
''Everyone wants to tie it back to make the payday lending industry the bad guy, and to me, it's not about (them), they can defend themselves,'' he said. ''I'm here to talk about what Ohio legislators have done with (the new law) and the over-reaching government they've enacted.''
Sandy Theis, spokeswoman for the Vote Yes on Issue 5 committee, defended the new law. She said those in opposition are only seeking to repeal the interest-rate-cap component.
If voters turn down the issue, the 391-percent annual percentage rate would return, she said.
Payday lenders say their fees amount to $15 on a $100 loan that is paid back in two weeks. The lower cap, they say, will kill their business.
Theis said the loans are typically repaid with another loan and she blamed the industry for failing to police itself.
''This is not about privacy or Big Brother, it's about greed,'' Theis said. ''They'll be able to charge 391 percent, but they don't want to talk about that because it's horribly unpopular.''
Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or firstname.lastname@example.org.