Sen. Grothman blasts Rent-To-Own on Capitol City Sunday - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Sen. Grothman blasts Rent-To-Own provision of budget on Capitol City Sunday

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The Legislative Joint Finance Committee will vote next week on a plan to loosen the regulations on rent-to-own businesses.

But a prominent Republican committee member openly criticizes Governor Scott Walker for including that proposal on Capitol City Sunday this weekend.

Despite being one of the most conservative members of the State Legislature, Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) says he can't stomach rent-to-own businesses, like the national chain Rent-A-Center.

"The way they operate is - they take advantage of the financially illiterate, maybe charge them $30 a week for 70 weeks for a TV, which is maybe 3 or 4 times what you'd get the TV for at Best Buy," said Sen. Grothman.

That's why Sen. Grothman is trying to recruit other Republicans to oppose Gov. Walker's proposal to loosen rent-to-own regulations, so companies like Rent-A-Center could set up shop here.

"I don't think Wisconsin politicians ought to be in league with businesses who take advantage of people's weaknesses and I think its a little embarrassing that Governor Walker put that in the budget," said Sen. Grothman.

Normally in favor of letting businesses operate without government interference, Sen. Grothman opposes this industry for being unethical.

"I think you can be a very conservative, free-market person, without promoting businesses that I would describe as immoral," said Sen. Grothman.

Capitol correspondents Jack Craver of the Capital Times and Scott Bauer of the Associated Press also join me this weekend to talk about that issue and others.   Craver says he hasn't found any Republicans that have tried to justify supporting the rent-to-own provisions in the budget.

"I think the only defense of the industry I've seen is from Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) who seemed to suggest that the Green Bay Packers could use Rent-A-Center to rent furniture for free-agent players who are on short-term contracts," said Craver. 

Capitol City Sunday airs at 9:00 a.m. on WKOW 27.

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