By Robert Reed, Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO, July 3 — Many of the state’s poorest residents could soon pay more to cash a check at a local currency exchange, courtesy of a rate hike recommended by Gov. Bruce Rauner‘s administration.
The Illinois agency that regulates currency exchanges has approved double-digit percentage increases of the industry’s state-sanctioned check-cashing fees. The hike covers all checks, including government-backed, payroll and personal.
What we have here is a flawed rate increase plan that promises to have an oversized impact on lower-income households already scratching out a living. The burden will fall mostly on people who often must use currency exchanges because their neighborhoods lack affordable retail banking options.
However, there’s a chance the increase could be stopped or altered since a bipartisan panel of lawmakers is responsible for “codifying,” or legally approving, the agency’s action.
Instead of just nodding “yes,” legislators should spike this hike and replace it with a more equitable fee schedule that doesn’t make poor people a little poorer every time they cash a check at a currency exchange.
“There’s still time,” says Brent Adams, senior vice president of policy at the Woodstock Institute, an advocacy group that’s taking the lead in opposing the scheme.
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