Capitol Update

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Join us for a weekly look at the latest on bills and issues from Arizona’s state capitol with legislative leaders.

TED SIMONS: YOU'RE WATCHING ARIZONA HORIZON. COMING UP WE SPEAK WITH LEGISLATIVE LEADERS ABOUT THE LATEST FROM THE STATE CAPITOL. EACH WEEK WE HEAR FROM LEGISLATIVE LEADERS ON THE LATEST FROM THE STATE CAPITOL. THIS WEEK IT'S THE REPUBLICAN'S TURN AND WE WELCOME DEBBIE RESCO AND T.J. SHOPE.

TED SIMONS: GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE. THERE'S A NEW HIGH INTEREST LOAN PRODUCT THAT WAS INTRODUCED. DIDN'T WE TAKE CARE OF THIS BUSINESS? WHAT'S GONE ON HERE?

DEBBIE LESKO: WELL, WHAT IT IS THAT RIGHT NOW, I WISH THAT ALL OF US COULD HAVE ENOUGH MONEY AND NOT HAVE TO USE THESE LOANS. I WISH THAT WE WOULD HAVE BEEN AN IDEAL SITUATION WHERE THERE WERE PEOPLE THAT DIDN'T NEED TO GET THESE LOANS. UNFORTUNATELY, THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT HAVE VERY BAD CREDIT, AND HAVE EMERGENCY SITUATIONS, LET'S SAY THEIR CAR BREAKS DOWN AND THEY DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY. WELL, RIGHT NOW THEIR OPTIONS ARE FAMILY, BUT IF THEY DON'T HAVE ANY FAMILY TO LEND THEM THE MONEY, THEY MIGHT GO TO A TITLE LOAN OR TO A PAWNSHOP. WHAT THIS LEGISLATION DOES IS GIVE THEM ANOTHER OPTION, WHICH IS ACTUALLY BETTER THAN THE PAWNSHOP AND TITLE LOAN OPTION. SO IS IT IDEAL? DO I WISH THAT PEOPLE DIDN'T HAVE TO USE THIS? YES. BUT THE REALITY IS THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT NEED THESE TYPE OF LOANS.

TED SIMONS: MAXIMUM INTEREST RATE, 164 PERCENT FOR LOANS OF UP TO 2,500 DOLLARS. DOES ARIZONA NEED THIS? I MEAN, WE HAVE GONE THROUGH PAYDAY LOANS, VOTERS SAY THEY DON'T WANT THEM. I MEAN, WE GET THIS. IS THERE A DISCONNECT HERE?

T.J. SHOPE: I THINK IF THERE IS A DIS CONNECT, IT'S A DISCONNECT THAT EXISTS BETWEEN I BELIEVE MANY FOLKS WHO PERHAPS ARE GOING OKAY WITH THEIR LIFE AND THOSE OUT THERE WHO TRULY HAVE NOT RECOVERED FROM THE RECESSION, THEY DON'T HAVE A JOB. THEY NEED A PRODUCT, THEY CAN'T GO TO A BANK, AND SHOW THAT THEY CAN PAY BACK A BANK LOAN. THEY CAN'T GET A CREDIT CARD SO THEY CAN HAVE A NORMAL CREDIT CARD SITUATION LIKE YOU OR I. THEY STILL NEED AN OPTION. BECAUSE WHAT YOU SEE IN COMMUNITIES ESPECIALLY IN LOW-INCOME COMMUNITIES LIKE THE ONE THAT I SERVE, OR A FUNERAL COMES UP AND WE HAVE A JAR OUTSIDE OF A BUSINESSES TO HELP RAISE MONEY, BECAUSE THESE FOLKS TRULY DON'T HAVE ANY OTHER OPTIONS.

TED SIMONS: BUT YOU KNOW THE ARGUMENT HERE IS THAT YOU GET TRAPPED IN THESE THINGS AND ALL OF THE SUDDEN THAT 164 PERCENT, WHICH ONLY HAPPENS WHEN THINGS REALLY GO BAD, WHEN THINGS ARE BAD ENOUGH AS IT IS YOU NEED TO PAY 164 PERCENT? THEY GET TRAPPED IN THE CYCLE. THAT'S THE ARGUMENT.

DEBBIE LESKO: I THINK SO IT CAN HAPPEN TO PEOPLE, AND PEOPLE CAN GET TRAPPED IN CREDIT CARD LOANS RIGHT NOW AS WELL, WHETHER THEY'RE WEALTHY OR POOR OR NOT. THE THING IS IS THAT WHAT'S THE OPTION? THERE'S CHARITIES OUT THERE THAT DO A REALLY GOOD JOB, BUT THEY DON'T HAVE ENOUGH RESOURCES TO HELP EVERYONE. AND SO IF SOMEBODY HAS REALLY BAD CREDIT, THEY'RE NOT GOING TO GET A CREDIT ADVANCE. THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO QUALIFY FOR A CREDIT CARD. THEY DON'T HAVE FAMILY. SO THEY NEED SOME TYPE OF OPTION. THIS OPTION EVEN THOUGH IT'S A HIGH INTEREST RATE IT'S ACTUALLY A LOWER INTEREST RATE THAN THE OPTIONS OUT THERE NOW.

TED SIMONS: WELL, IF THE GOAL IS TO GIVE PEOPLE CASH, WHY NOT JUST LOWER RATES? WHY ALLOW FOR THESE MAXIMUM RATES?

SINCE THEY ARE FOLKS THAT HAVE BAD CREDIT, THEY HAVE SHOWN PERHAPS IN THEIR HISTORY AN INABILITY TO PAY BACK AT TIMES, THESE COMPANIES ARE IN FACT TAKING A PRETTY HIGH RISK TO LOAN THESE DOLLARS OUT AND WITH THAT COMES THE REASON WHY YOU HAVE THE HIGH RATE. THESE ARE RISKY VENTURES FOR SOME OF THESE COMPANIES. I THINK THAT SHE HAS RIGHT IN THE SENSE THAT THIS KIND OF PRODUCT IS SOMETHING THAT'S BETTER THAN IN MY OPINION, THAN AN AUTO LOAN OF SOME KIND. I MEAN, WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT SOMEBODY TAKING YOUR CAR AWAY IF YOU'RE NOT ABLE TO PAY. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT YOUR BAD CREDIT JUST BEING FURTHER DAMAGED IF YOU'RE UNABLE TO PAY. BUT THE REALITY IS YOU'RE STILL GOING TO BE ABLE TO HAVE TRANSPORTATION TO GET TO YOUR JOB, WHICH I HOPE THAT YOU WOULD BE ABLE TO KEEP. SO I DON'T THINK THAT-- I THINK THERE TRULY IS A DISCONNECT ON THE IDEA THAT THE PRODUCTS THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO ME OR TO OTHERS WHO ARE DOING DECENTLY WELL, OR AT LEAST JUST GETTING BY, FOLKS THAT ARE OUT THERE THAT DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO THOSE PRODUCTS.

TED SIMONS: DO YOU SEE THESE FOLKS AS BEING PREDATORY LENDERS?

T.J. SHOPE: NO, I DON'T.

TED SIMONS: DO YOU SEE THEM AS PREDATORY LENDERS?

DEBBIE LESKO: NO, I DON'T THINK THEY'RE OUT TO DO ANYTHING HARMFUL TO PEOPLE. NOW, CAN PEOPLE GET TRAPPED? YES. BUT PEOPLE CAN GET TRAPPED IN CREDIT CARDS AND OTHER DEBT, SO, YOU KNOW, WE'RE NOT FORCING PEOPLE TO GET THESE LOANS.

TED SIMONS: LAST POINT, AND I WANT TO MOVE ON. BUT WE VOTED ON THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE, AND SAID WE DON'T WANT THIS KIND OF THING. WHY DOES THIS KIND OF THING KEEP COMING BACK?

DEBBIE LESKO: I THINK SO THAT WAS ABOUT PAYDAY LOANS, IT WAS A SPECIFIC INITIATIVE YEARS AGO. AND I THINK PEOPLE VOTED BACK THEN ABOUT THAT, AND NOW THE LEGISLATURE HAS THE ABILITY TO DETERMINE IF THERE'S STILL A NEED. OBVIOUSLY THERE'S A NEED, AUTO TITLE LOANS HAVE SPRUNG UP EVERYWHERE, PAWNSHOPS HAVE SPRUNG UP EVERYWHERE. SO THERE'S OBVIOUSLY A NEED AND HOPEFULLY THIS IS A BETTER ALTERNATIVE.

TED SIMONS: SB 1178, THAT IS YOURS. THE BILL TRACKS SCHOOL DISTRICTS FOR THE SPENDING OF PROP 123, THE IDEA BEING FIND OUT IF SCHOOL DISTRICTS ARE REALLY GIVING MONEY TO TEACHERS. IS THAT REALLY WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?

DEBBIE LESKO: YEAH, WE PASSED PROP 123 AND ALL OF THE REPUBLICANS REFER TO THE BALLOT AND A NUMBER OF DEMOCRAT LEGISLATORS TO INFUSE MONEY INTO OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM. WELL WE HAVE CONSTITUENTS THAT WANT TO KNOW HOW ARE THE SCHOOLS SPENDING THE MONEY, AND I THINK THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW THAT, AND I THINK SO LEGISLATORS HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW THAT TOO. IT WAS ADVERTISED AS WE'RE GOING TO GIVE TEACHERS RAISES. SO I'M HOPING THAT THE SCHOOL BOARDS AND THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS ARE GIVING TEACHERS RAISES WITH THIS MONEY BECAUSE IT'S REALLY NEEDED. AND THAT'S WHAT PEOPLE WANT. THEY WANT TO KNOW HOW THE MONEY IS BEING SPENT.

TED SIMONS: THERE IS CONCERN THAT INFORMATION WILL BE USED FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES AND TWIST INFORMATION. IF I'M A SCHOOL DISTRICT AND I'VE BEEN GIVING TEACHER RAISES FOR YEARS AND I DON'T NOW BECAUSE I WANT TO USE THIS MONEY FOR SOMETHING ELSE, I'M GOING TO LOOK BAD. THAT'S NOT GOOD.

T.J. SHOPE: I'VE HEARD THAT ARGUMENT, YESTERDAY I BELIEVE THAT BILL WAS HEARD IN COMMITTEE. I UNDERSTAND COMPLETELY THE INTENT OF WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO HERE. I SERVE ON THE SCHOOL BOARD AND THIS IS MY NINTH YEAR AS A SCHOOL BOARD MEBER. 123 PASSES WE MADE THE DECISION AS OUR BOARD, UNIFIED TO GO AHEAD AND OFFER A FOUR PERCENT RAISE. I FEEL AS A LEGISLATOR, I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW ALSO HOW MY PEERS ARE DECIDING TO USE THOSE DOLLARS. AND THIS IS REALLY IN MY OPINION THE REASON WHY. WHEN WE DID THAT, 123, AND THE FOLKS ALL GOT ON BOARD WITH THE CAMPAIGN AFTERWARD, WE SOLD IT AS THERE WOULD BE RAISES FOR OUR EDUCATORS OUT THERE. SO AFTER WE AIL CAME TOGETHER AND THOSE VOTES WERE TAKEN, WE SOLD IT AS WE'RE GOING TO GIVE OUR TEACHERS RAISES AND LET'S MAKE SURE WE ARE.

TED SIMONS: IT MAY HAVE BEEN SOLD THAT WAY BUT THE IDEA IS STILL THERE'S NO STRINGS ATTACHED. WAS IT A MISTAKE TO SETTLE THIS LAWSUIT WITH THIS WILL PARTICULAR PROPOSITION WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED?

DEBBIE LESKO: I DON'T THINK ANYTHING WAS A MISTAKE, BUT I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH ASKING THE SCHOOLS HOW THEY HAVE SPENT THE MONEY. NOW, IT WAS BROUGHT UP IN COMMITTEE, THERE WAS SOME CONCERNS BECAUSE THE PROP 123 MONEY IS COMMINGLED WITH THE OTHER MONEY, SO IT WOULD BE HARD TO IDENTIFY. SO I'M GOING TO TALK TO THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE AND SEE IF THERE'S SOME WAY THAT THEY CAN AMENDMENT THIS BILL TO MAKE IT A LITTLE BIT EASIER, BUT ULTIMATELY I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT VOTED FOR PROP 123 AND THE LEGISLATORS KNOW TRULY HOW THE MONEY IS BEING SPENT. I THINK THAT'S ONLY FAIR.

TED SIMONS: AND ALSO ONE OF THE ARGUMENTS IS THAT THIS IS A WAY FOR THE LEGISLATURE, REPUBLICANS TO SHOW THAT THE GOVERNOR AND THE REPUBLICANS, IF YOU SAY WE'RE NOT DOING ENOUGH POST-PROP 123, HERE, WE GAVE YOU THE MONEY, THEY'RE NOT DOING ENOUGH. IT SHIFTS THE BLAME TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS, VALID ARGUMENT?

T.J. SHOPE: I WOULD TELL YOU AS A SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER WE DO HAVE A LOT OF RESPONSIBILITY. I HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY IN THE STATE LEGISLATURE TO ENSURE THAT I'M NOT ONLY K-12 BUT OTHER AGENCIES IN THE STATE BUDGET CORRECTLY, AND IN THE PROPER FORM. I HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO THE BOARD MEMBERS TO THE VOTERS WHO ELECTED ME AND THE TAX PAYERS WHO PAY PROPERTY TAXES TO ENSURE THEIR PRIORITIES ARE BEING TAKEN CARE OF AS WELL. AND PERHAPS THE VOTERS WILL BE ABLE TO THEN SEE-- AND I GUESS MAYBE THIS IS REALLY HIGH LEVEL WISHFUL THINKING FOR SOME. BUT I TRULY DO BELIEVE IT WILL ALLOW THE VOTERS OF THAT AREA TO SAY, SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS WHY AREN'T YOU SPEND THING MONEY HERE.

TED SIMONS: SO YOU SEE TRANSPARENCY AS AN ISSUE?

DEBBIE LESKO: I THINK SO IT'S ALWAYS GOOD TO HAVE TRANSPARENCY. PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW WHERE THE MONEY IS BEING SPENT, AND I THINK THAT WHEN THERE'S SCHOOL BOARD THAT USE IT FOR TEACHER RAISES AND FOR THE CLASSROOM, PEOPLE ARE HAPPY ABOUT THAT. SO THAT'S HOW THAT BILL BUZZ IS SAY WE GAVE YOU A BUNCH OF MONEY, HOW ARE YOU USING IT? THAT'S ALL IT'S ABOUT.

TED SIMONS: ALRIGHT I'VE GOT LIKE THIRTY SECONDS LEFT. GOOD THING OR BAD THING TO ATTEMPT TO LIMIT SHANNON'S LAW DIED?

DEBBIE LESKO: WELL, OUR SENATE PRESIDENT YARBOROUGH WANTED TO MAKE SURE THAT BILL DIED. HE DIDN'T SEE THAT THERE WAS A NEED FOR IT. AND QUITE FRANKLY HE SAID A POLICE OFFICER RETIRED POLICE OFFICER IN PEORIA SAID IT WAS A PROBLEM, THAT'S WHY HE DID IT. I DON'T THINK HE REALIZED IT WOULD BE SO CONTROVERSIAL.

TED SIMONS: YOU OKAY WITH THIS WILL NOT SEEING THE LIGHT OF DAY?

T.J. SHOPE: I'M GOOD FRIENDS WITH HIM AND I KNOW HIS INTENT WAS RIGHT. I'VE HEARD THE SAME STORY ABOUT TALKING TO THE POLICE OFFICER. THAT I THINK HE HAD EVERY INTENTION OF TRYING TO DO THE RIGHT THING AND THE SENATE PRESIDENT IS WELL WITHIN HIS RIGHT TO UPHOLD THE BILL.

TED SIMONS: MAKE SURE THIS WAS AN ACCIDENTAL SHOOTING BUT AGAIN THE SENATE PRESIDENT SAYS NOT ON MY WATCH AND THERE YOU GO. GOOD TO SEE YOU BOTH.

DEBBIE LESKO: GREAT TO SEE YOU.

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