$3 Million in TV vs. 3 Billboards

The Arizonans for Responsible Lending, No on 200 campaign unveiled three billboards in Phoenix yesterday. No on 200 hopes to show voters that while their opponent, an out-of-state payday industry behind the measure, is outspending them by $3 million to 3 billboards, the No on 200 campaign has the truth on their side. Prop 200 is written by legal loan sharks who are trying to make 400% debt traps legal in Arizona for good, the campaign says.

Arizonans for Responsible Lending, No on 200, Counters $11.6 Million Propaganda Machine with Billboard Campaign Highlighting the Simple Truth Arizonans for Responsible Lending sought to put to rest yesterday any doubts voters might have about who is behind this second most expensive initiative campaign in Arizona history, what’s at stake, and what voters must do.

The No On 200 campaign unveiled billboards that make it clear to Arizonans, with a super-sized image, that if they vote “yes” on 200, they will be letting loan sharks write their own laws.

“While the payday lenders spend at least $3 million of their ill-gotten cash on deceptive TV ads that already are blanketing the airwaves, Arizonans for Responsible Lending, the grassroots movement to prevent loan sharks from writing their own laws, is now unveiling three billboards in the Phoenix area,” said No on 200 campaign manager Ken Clark. “They have $3 million in TV spots, we have 3 billboards. But we’ve also got the truth.”

Donna Neill, an organizer with NAILEM, the Neighborhood Activist Inter-Linked Empowerment Movement, was on hand to unveil the billboards.

“The truth is: Prop 200 is the industry’s attempt to eliminate the 2010 sunset date they face in Arizona law, and authorize their 400 percent interest rates forever,” said Neill. “Neighborhood activists across the state won’t let this stand. Prop 200 is bad for our neighborhoods, bad for our cities and wrong for our state — and we will defeat it!”

The billboard drew a sharp rebuke from Lenny the Loanshark, leading character in the No on 200 campaign’s spoof ad featuring a payday lender taking the shirt
off a borrower’s back.

“This is unfair!” said Lenny. “We’ve spent a lot of money trying to persuade the voters that Prop 200 represents payday reform, and now you’ve gone and blown our cover!”

“You know, you can put lipstick on a loan shark, but it’s still a loan shark,” countered No on 200 communications director Melissa Hodgdon. Hodgdon said the payday industry chose not to release information about how much they have spent on television ad buys — specifically instructing TV stations: “Do not share any information with opponents or the public.”

“What else are these out-of-state loan sharks trying to hide from the voters of Arizona?” asked Hodgdon. The other two No on 200 billboards can be found at I-17 and 7th Street, and I-10 and 26th Street in Phoenix.

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