Interest and fees trap low-income families in a cycle of debt | 850 vehicles a week repossessed by auto-title lenders | Legislature must act
BY CHRIS TURNER
Special to the Star-Telegram
Can you imagine taking out a $500 loan and it costing more than $1,100 to pay it back?
Every day in the Fort Worth-Arlington metro area, many of our neighbors are doing just that and paying up to 484 percent in interest and fees on small, short-term “payday” and auto-title loans.
These absurd interest rates are completely legal in Texas, due to the inaction of the Legislature, which refuses to pass meaningful reforms to rein in what is largely an unregulated industry.
As a result, payday and auto-title lenders are allowed to charge unlimited interest and fees, effectively trapping low-income families in a cycle of debt.
“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude.”
– President Harry S. Truman
Today we honor the men and women whose bravery and commitment to defend our freedom has made our nation great. In the words of President Truman, the service of these incredible men and women can never be repaid and they have indeed earned our undying gratitude. Today and every day, we should celebrate our nation’s heroes.
As we pause today to thank our veterans, we must not forget their families and the countless sacrifices they have made.
Please join me in paying tribute to those who have served our nation and fought to protect our freedom. They have truly earned our lasting respect and gratitude.
AUSTIN — Earlier today, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus named Representative Chris Turner (HD 101-Grand Prairie) to the House Select Committee on Mental Health. The committee is charged with examining the current status of mental health care in Texas, as well as identifying what areas need to be addressed.
In response to his appointment, Turner released the following statement:
“Mental health care is a critical issue that impacts every person in our state. I am honored to serve on this important committee and grateful that Speaker Straus has made this issue a top priority.
“Over the next year, I look forward to learning more about what programs and initiatives have worked in addressing our state’s mental health needs, as well as exploring gaps which exist.
“With the second largest population of veterans in the nation, we must delve deeply into how veterans’ mental health is being addressed and what more can be done to prevent military and veteran suicide and homelessness.”
Two weeks ago at the Arlington Republican Club, a Tea Party Republican announced that he will run against me in 2016. This will be the first time I have faced a Republican opponent in District 101, and I need your help.
I’m not surprised that they’re going after me. After all, I have taken on the Tea Party and their dangerous ideas for our state over and over again. While they seek to grow their power by dividing Texans, I have worked to make Texas a state where every family can succeed.
Since I was first elected in 2008, I have made SH 360 one of my top priorities.
In 2009 and 2011, I organized a stakeholders group that brought community leaders, officials from the NTTA, TxDOT, NCTCOG, as well as officials from Arlington, Grand Prairie, Mansfield, and Tarrant County together in an effort to improve SH 360.
After several years of work, on October 21st, I had the honor of helping to break ground on the SH 360 expansion project. I am honored to have be part of this effort and look forward to the positive impact the expansion will have on our community and House District 101.
Can you imagine taking out a $500 loan and it costing more than $1100 to pay back?
FACT: Every day in our area, many of our neighbors are doing just that and paying up to 484% in interest and fees on small, short-term “payday” loans. payday lending
This is completely legal in our state, and as a result, payday and auto-title lenders are making billions of dollars while preying upon people in dire need of financial help to pay their rent, to feed their children, and to fix their car so that they can get to work.
Since it’s Child Passenger Safety Week, Chris let me commandeer his email to help spread the word about one of my passions, keeping kids safe in cars.
If you’re not the parent or grandparent of a young child, you’re probably saying to yourself, “this doesn’t apply to me. I don’t need to read this. I can skip this one.” Before you move on to your next email, I ask that you please read on. You never know, this information could come in handy one day and even save a life.
Arlington, TX — State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101 – Grand Prairie) released the following statement in response to today’s Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing:
“Today’s sham hearing is just the latest sad example of Texas Republicans attacking women’s basic right to make their own healthcare decisions. In a hearing in which even the most biased and virulent critics of Planned Parenthood are forced to admit that they have no knowledge of a single law being broken and the Attorney General testifies but can’t even answer basic legal questions, it’s clear that these investigations are nothing more than witch hunts intended to ultimately deny women basic healthcare services.”
What a week!
After what can only be described as a rough legislative session for common sense and sound policy, recent Supreme Court decisions have brought some much-needed good news to Texas.
Thanks to our nation’s highest court, more than 1 million of our neighbors are no longer in danger of losing their health insurance, all men and women across our state finally have the right to marry the person they love and the draconian abortion law of two years ago has been put on hold.
I want to continue to be an advocate for those priorities and for the people of House District 101, which is why I will seek re-election in 2016.
As we prepare for the 2016 campaign, I need your help. Today is a very important deadline and to show early support, I hope I can count on you to be one of the very first contributors to the 2016 campaign. Help me get a strong start and make a contribution today.
North Texas lawmaker urges state leadership to not impede the progress that has been made
Arlington, TX — State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101 – Grand Prairie) released the following statement in reaction to today’s United States Supreme Court decision regarding marriage equality:
“This is truly a historic day. Millions of men and women across our nation will have the ability to legally marry the person they love. Finally, LGBT Texans in committed relationships, will be afforded the same rights as other married couples.
“Unfortunately, here in Texas, today’s decision will face resistance by our state’s leadership. Like many that have come before, history will prove this decision to be the right one. I urge our state’s Republican leaders to not impede the progress that has been made.”
Last week, in the wake of the mass murder at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, I wrote something on my Facebook page to express my horror and disbelief at the heinous crime that had occurred. I referred to the shootings as an “unspeakable tragedy.”
A commenter on my post disagreed with the word “unspeakable” – there are “a lot of words to describe white supremacy and racism,” she argued – we just have to be willing to use them.
I used the word “unspeakable” because its definition – “incapable of being expressed in words” and “inexpressibly bad” – fit exactly how I felt upon learning that nine African Americans were gunned down in cold blood while studying the Bible in a historic Black church. I really could not find the words.
But the commenter was right in saying that we have to acknowledge this act for what it is and we need to have some honest conversations about race in America.
830,000+ Texans no longer in jeopardy of losing critical tax credits
ARLINGTON, TX — Today, State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101 – Grand Prairie), who authored contingency legislation to protect more than 830,000 Texans from losing their health insurance tax credits, released the following statement in response to today’s United States Supreme Court decision in the case of King v. Burwell:
“I am glad the Supreme Court agreed that it’s clear that Congress intended for the tax credits to be available to all Americans who purchase health coverage in an exchange and are between 100 – 400 percent of the poverty level, regardless of who runs the exchange.
The impact of a different decision would have been devastating. If the Court had decided in the plaintiffs’ favor, more than 830,000 Texans would have been negatively impacted and would have faced a 300 percent increase in their premium costs. Many would not have been able to afford coverage and would have returned to the ranks of the uninsured – a category in which Texas unfortunately already leads the nation.
Despite non-stop partisan, political attacks on the Affordable Care Act, thousands in our communities and across our state have affordable health insurance coverage. Now that this decision has been made and this issue is behind us, we can move forward and get even more Texans enrolled in affordable health care plans.”