One item drawing attention in the new two-year state budget proposal is a provision that would create a new set of statutes for rent-to-own companies and remove them from the jurisdiction of the Wisconsin Consumer Act.
John Huebscher, executive director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, says exempting rent-to-own companies from the WCA would free those companies from having to disclose their annual rates. He says that would "open the door to predatory purchasing agreements" and trap poor people into payments they can't afford.
The Wisconsin Catholic Conference is part of a coalition of faith-based, aging, family, and public interest organizations urging state lawmakers to remove the provision from the budget proposal.
Lobbyists for the rent-to-own industry say their contracts aren't credit transactions so they shouldn't be subject to the act.
We contacted Governor Walker's office for comment but did not hear back by our deadline.