I am writing to encourage voters in Liberty to go to the polls on Nov. 5 and vote "yes" on the ballot initiative for the city of Liberty to adopt a short-term lending code and permit fee.

The laws in Missouri for short-term lending, commonly known as payday lending, are set up entirely in the favor of the lenders who are legally allowed to charge up to 1,950% annual interest. I grew up in New Jersey, and there’s a term there for people who charge that much interest on loans: loan sharks.

While we cannot do anything in Liberty about Missouri state law, we should do something within Liberty to limit the impact of an industry with unsavory practices equivalent to illegal New Jersey loan sharks. The short-term lending code and permit fee ballot initiative would limit the number of payday lenders in the city and would require them to pay a permit fee.

As most payday lenders in Liberty are not locally owned business, their profits are not reinvested locally. The permit fee would keep some of the profits from these businesses here in Liberty and the limit on their numbers in Liberty would encourage those who need short-term loans to seek them from other sources that would not take advantage of them such as friends, family or charitable organizations.

I will be voting "yes" on the short-term lending code and permit fee ballot initiative on Nov. 5. I encourage my fellow Liberty citizens do the same.

Joseph Shih


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