A judge said Monday he will decide today whether voters need to be told up front how much payday lenders could legally charge if Proposition 200 is approved.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sam Myers will hear arguments today by opponents of the measure who charge that the summary prepared by Secretary of State Jan Brewer is inadequate because it fails to mention that 391 percent annual interest rate. Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix, one of the foes, said without that information voters could be misled.
But the lawsuit faces an uphill battle because Attorney General Terry Goddard, who must review every summary, said Monday he believes there is nothing misleading about it.
"We did as good a job on that one as we could and summarized the statute," Goddard said. "I consider it a horse that's out of the barn and down the road."
Time is running out: The Secretary of State's Office wants to start printing the pamphlets, which contain not only the summary of each ballot measure but all the arguments for and against each one, tonight. These are mailed to every household before the November election.
Proposition 200 is a bid by lenders to keep their business alive in Arizona.
State law generally caps annual interest on loans at 36 percent. But legislators agreed in 2000 to craft an exemption for companies that lend up to $500 for up to two weeks by agreeing not to cash a post-dated check.
That allowable fee of $17.85 for every $100 borrowed computes out to an annual percentage rate of more than 400 percent.
That special exemption for payday lenders, however, expires July 1, 2010.