Guest Op-Ed: Legislators have opportunity to vote for jobs, better credit options for New Hampshire residents
A strong New Hampshire economy secures the livelihoods of hardworking families throughout the Granite State. And, in order to make New Hampshire the best place in the nation to live, to visit and do business, we must create a favorable environment for the creation of private sector jobs.
This week, members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives are considering a bill that helps our state achieve these goals.
Senate Bill 160 will pump much needed growth into New Hampshire’s economy, while providing consumers with regulated, fair access to short-term credit. This bill is designed to expand consumer choice and will bring dozens of jobs back to New Hampshire that were eliminated when the Democratic majority acted to over-regulate what was an open, competitive credit market. Now, legislators have an opportunity to fix the mistakes of the past by supporting this bill – a bill that will help promote the kind of business-friendly environment that fosters innovation and economic growth.
This legislation will also provide a much-needed service for working families who often struggle to make ends meet. When residents encounter unforeseen expenses between paychecks, they don’t need state government to legislate their choices away. They deserve an opportunity to weigh and compare all of their options before choosing the service that makes personal and economic sense for them, and need a safe and cost efficient option to help bridge the gap.
The current law leaves consumers with an unacceptable lack of choices when they find themselves in need of short-term credit. The few options that are available are often more expensive or complicated than short-term, small-dollar loans. Simple market principles are at play in this situation – when competitive products and services are eliminated from the marketplace, costs go up and quality of service decreases. Consider the alternatives – credit card advances are costly and come with lots of strings attached. Bouncing a check or overdrawing a checking account carries an even higher cost and penalty.
Many consumers here in New Hampshire, and around the country, have nowhere to turn in a financial crunch. Asking friends or family may not be an option, and credit restrictions make it difficult to qualify for longer-term loans – especially in this tough economic environment. In America today, the idea that any U.S. consumer’s only option to bridge a short-term cash need would be an unregulated loan offered over the Internet by companies based in other countries – is unfathomable. Our own American companies are more than capable of meeting that demand for credit.
Our laws should enable businesses to grow, provide services and operate competitively without unnecessary hindrance. This bill will put people to work, fill storefronts, and provide a much needed service to residents.
Andrew Hemingway is Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire.