In The Spotlight

Louisiana families continue to struggle

The poverty rate in Louisiana for adults and children remained unacceptably high in 2016 even as other states saw significant improvements. New U.S. Census data released Thursday also show that Louisiana continues to have one of the highest rates of income inequality in the United States.

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Uninsured rate at historic low. Progress threatened by repeal efforts.

More Louisianans than ever before were covered by health insurance in 2016, according to figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

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NEW REPORT: State of Working Louisiana

Every Louisiana worker deserves access to a steady job, with good benefits, that pays enough to afford basic necessities. But that is not the reality for many families in our state.

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The Daily Dime

Voting mostly along party lines, the U.S. Senate cleared the way Thursday for a massive tax cut package that would primarily benefit the wealthy and profitable corporations.

Number of the Day

$5.49 million - Amount an estate must be worth before incurring tax under the federal estate tax; one of a litany of cuts specifically for the super-wealthy in President Trump’s plan. (Source: Vox)

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Our Two Cents Blog

A new rule released today by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will reduce the harms of short-term payday lending and car title lending to Louisiana families, but state protections remain crucial to prevent predatory lenders from exploiting loopholes in the rule.

Payday and car title lending costs Louisiana families $241,461,615 per year in abusive fees. The loans drive borrowers into financial distress by trapping them in long-term debt at triple-digit interest rates. Borrowers routinely pay more in fees than the amount they borrow for what is marketed as a quick fix for a cash shortage. Many end up with unpaid bills, overdraft fees, closed bank accounts and even bankruptcy.

“This new rule has the potential to bring common-sense requirements to a payday lending industry that knowingly traps thousands of Louisianans in long-term cycles of debt at 391 percent annual interest. But Louisiana families still need our state lawmakers to strengthen consumer protections,” said Jan Moller, director of the Louisiana Budget Project. “Left unchecked, payday and car title lending drains over $200 million every year from Louisiana’s economy and often causes bankruptcy, bank account overdrafts and delinquency on other bills. While the CFPB cannot legally cap the interest rate on payday lending – the most effective measure to stop the payday lending debt trap – our state lawmakers can and should cap these loans at 36 percent APR.”

The CFPB is not legally authorized to cap interest rates, so the new rule protects consumers by requiring lenders to take steps to require affordable loans – loans that borrowers can pay back without taking out another loan in order to cover living expenses.

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