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Nov 4, 2010 10:02 AM by Melissa Anderson (Helena)

Ballot measures affect payday loans, property taxes, hunting licenses

Montana voters were pretty decisive when they cast their ballots for several measures in Tuesday's election.

The "cap the rate" proposal, I-164, cruised to easy passage, garnering 72 percent "yes" votes. The measure limits to 36 percent the amount of interest that payday lenders can charge for short-term loans.

The field director of the campaign, Matt Leow, says they were very happy with Tuesday night's results. Leow says that payday lenders can't blame I-164 if their shops close, because it hasn't gone into effect yet. He says such lenders should be able to stay in business by charging people up to 36 percent interest, or people can look at alternatives such as credit unions.

Montanans were also clear on Tuesday that they don't want any more unexpected taxes, with 73 percent of the voters saying "yes" to a constitutional amendment that prohibits the legislature from placing any taxes on property sales.

"I think that voters sent a tremendous message that they feel like they pay enough in property taxes as it is, and they're sending a message to the legislature not to impose new taxes," Chuck Denowh, the campaign manager for the measure, said.

Montana voters also approved I-161, the ballot initiative to abolish outfitter-sponsored hunting licenses. The initiative replaces the outfitter sponsored hunting licenses with non-resident licenses.
Mac Minard, executive director of the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, says that passage of I-I61 will increase revenue from licenses by nearly 43 percent. Under the provision, resident licenses will not increase at all.

Minard also said that the new law will make out of state hunters feel unwelcome and hurt the economy.
"And non-resident hunters are going to look at that and say to themselves, 'Montana doesn't want me' and they're going to take their business somewhere else.

"And if that happens it's not just the outfitting community that gets hurt, it's small business and mostly small business in rural Montana," he said.
Minard predicts that landowners will also see this as an attack on their private property rights


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