Economic Justice

Women’s Voices addresses several issues including: income inequality; sustainable wages; right to work; and payday lending.

Health Services for Seniors & People with Disabilities Saved on Last Day of Session

The Missouri Legislature voted  to save health services for 8,000 low-income seniors and people with disabilities.  The House vote occurred just minutes before the legislature was required to adjourn for the year on May 12.

Please thank House Speaker Richardson and House Budget Chair Scott Fitzpatrick for allowing this important matter to come to a vote, as well as your Representative if they voted for the bill.

The House vote followed one in the Senate on May 4 to amend HCB3 to replace the circuit breaker cuts with money from a “sweep” of unused funds to fill the “senior citizen protection fund”.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Chief Responds To Critics

Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray, testified at a hearing March 5th.  Critics at hearing saying Cordray should be fired and the agency should be disbanded.    Cordray points out that the bureau supports and protects consumers from being mistreated by banks and loan agencies.   Cordray says that agency has collected over 12 billion dollars for more than 29 million people.    Listen to NPR report here.    

Call Senator Claire McCaskill  202-224-6154 and Senator Roy Blunt 202-224-5721 and ask them to stand up for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Don’t Let Congress Eliminate Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Two Republican lawmakers introduced Tuesday companion bills to eliminate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the controversial watchdog agency long targeted by the GOP. The bills from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) would repeal Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act, which established the CFPB. Republicans have long sought to eliminate or drastically reform the CFPB, but Cruz and Ratcliffe’s approach goes further than current GOP proposals to reshape the bureau.  Read more


Bill Would Leave Consumers Unprotected 

The Merchandising Practices Act (MPA) is an important part of Missouri consumer protection law. Senate Bill 5 exempts a wide variety of Missouri businesses from being covered if they are “regulated” by a state or federal agency. This would give payday loan companies, banks, credit unions, and title lenders greater license to run roughshod over the public. SB 5 limits a consumer’s right to sue and could leave many consumers without protection in home foreclosures, vehicle repossessions, credit card abuses, bogus collection lawsuits, false credit reporting, and much more.

The bill has passed a Senate committee and is headed to the floor for a vote. Read more.  Call your senator and ask for a NO vote on SB 5.  Click here to find your senator.

MO Can’t Afford Tax Cuts Passed by Legislature

State general revenue growth for the fiscal year ending on June 30 was insufficient to “trigger” the tax cuts that were scheduled to begin in 2017. “At a time when Missouri does not even have the resources to fully fund its local schools, it would be irresponsible to allow the looming tax cuts to be implemented as planned,” said Amy Blouin, Executive Director of the Missouri Budget Project.  Read more.

Consumer Protection Finance Bureau Proposes new Rule on Payday Lending – urge that loopholes be closed!

The Consumer Finance Protect Bureau (CFPB) has proposed a new rule to curb the excesses of payday and car title loans.   Though it has the potential to help those trapped in high interest loans by requiring lenders to establish the ability of the borrower to repay the loan, there are loopholes that must be closed.

  1. There are exceptions to the ability to pay requirement.
  2. The rule allows borrowers to take a new loan after 30 days versus 60 days as originally proposed.
  3. The new rule does not go far enough to ensure that the borrower will have enough money after repaying the loan to cover basic living expenses.

Over the new few months the Bureau is taking public comments on the proposed new rule.  We urge you to click here and ask that the loopholes be closed.

To learn more about the proposed rule – what works and what doesn’t – click here.

Missouri Budget Project’s Summary of 2017 State Budget

  • Missouri increased its funding for K-12 education in next year’s budget. However, in response to ongoing shortfalls in K-12 education funding, lawmakers re-instituted a cap in the state’s education funding formula. The amount of state funding required for education under the cap will be more than $1,000 per student lower than what was required per student a decade ago, when adjusted for inflation.
  • Despite increased funding for higher education, the amount of state funding per full-time four year college student is lower than it was in 2007, in nominal terms (not adjusted for inflation).
  • Increased child care reimbursement rates put Missouri on a path to strengthen access to quality care and make child care more affordable for 20,000 low-income families throughout the state.

Click here to read the full budget report

Victory:  Senate Upholds Veto of Paycheck Deception Bill

The MO Senate voted on May 12 to uphold Governor Nixon’s veto of Paycheck Deception.  The governor  vetoed the bill because he knew it is detrimental to Missouri’s public and union workers.  Unnecessary paycheck deception attacks would have been the first step towards turning Missouri into a so-called “Right to work” state, hurting families and Missouri’s economy.

2016 Missouri Budget Highlights

As reported by St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 22, 2016

PLANNED PARENTHOOD By forgoing $8 million in federal health care funding, lawmakers contend they will not have to spend any money on the controversial abortion provider. Planned Parenthood has vowed to keep its 13 clinics open despite the loss of $380,000 in state funding.

UNIVERSITIES  College students won’t see tuition increases in the coming year after negotiators agreed to bump overall higher education spending by $37 million, which equals a 4 percent increase. Gov. Jay Nixon had sought a 6 percent increase.

EMPLOYEES  State workers will see 2 percent wage increases designed to lower the level of turnover in state government. The $54 million cost is the same as what Gov. Jay Nixon sought.

K-12 SCHOOLS  Public schools would receive about $70 million more through the foundation formula in the fiscal year beginning July 1. The governor says he is disappointed they did not match his request for an $85 million increase for the formula.

Editorial: 30,000 more Missourians get hungrier starting today

Editorial Board, St. Louis Post Dispatch  

Click here

MO Supreme Court to Hear Minimum Wage Case

The Missouri Supreme Court will hear the St. Louis minimum wage ordinance case, where the City  will argue to maintain its authority to raise the minimum wage paid by employers within the city from $7.65 to $8.25 per hour, then increasing over the next two years to $11 per hour.  This is projected to improve the standard of living of more than 30,000 working families.

St. Louis Aldermen approved a bill by a vote of 16-8  to institute a citywide $11 an-hour minimum wage by 2018. Initially, the bill will raise the minimum to $8.25 an hour upon passage, then increase it to $9 an hour on Jan. 1, 2016. The rate would increase to $10 an hour in 2017, and then $11 an hour on Jan. 1, 2018.

Update  On October 14, one day before the new wage was to go into effect, Circuit Judge Steven Ohmer issued a ruling blocking the city from implementing the increase saying the minimum wage increase was not in conformity with state law.  St. Louis City Mayor Slay said, “We will appeal the ruling with the hope that higher courts will affirm the city’s authority to adopt its own minimum wage.”

Minimum Wage and Right to Work Position Paper

Women’s Voices believes changes in government economic policies are needed to stop the erosion of the middle class and to provide all citizens the opportunity to work and to earn a living wage that allows them to meet basic needs for food, housing, education, and health care.  Read our position paper.