State Rep. Pearson details legislative priorities, admits tough session is ahead

State Rep. Kirk Pearson looks forward to returning to the legislature, even though he admitted that he’s in for a difficult session.

Pearson’s first bill to receive a hearing was House Bill 2195 (which would restrict the interest rates of credit cards) on Jan. 12, which he cited as one of his most important pieces of legislation for reviving the state’s restrictions on credit card interest rates.

“With interest rates as high as they are now, it can be impossible to make even minimum payments,” Pearson said. “We have a true prospect of helping families here. It’ll probably be challenged in the courts, but it’s worth it.”

Although the state budget remains tight, Pearson rejected the idea of raising new revenues through taxes, which he believes would only hurt. Instead, Pearson is seeking to prioritize government spending, in part by streamlining what he sees as redundant processes, such as those regulating rivers.

“We need to prioritize schools, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and public safety,” Pearson said. “We’ve got a lot of overlap.”

Pearson acknowledged the impacts of a large part of his district being employed by Boeing, recently announced it would set up an assembly facility in South Carolina for its 787 Dreamliner. At the same time, he touted House Bill 2057, which would reduce sales tax on new construction, as a means of stimulating the local economy by increasing homebuilding in the area and thereby creating jobs.

Pearson has maintained his stance on retaining levy equalization dollars, which he noted continues to be an issue in the legislature.

“Every school district in my district would be hard-hit if they took those dollars away, including Marysville and Arlington,” Pearson said. “You can’t raise the levy lid on towns like Darrington. It hurts municipalities with non-taxable lands.”

Pearson encouraged his constituents to stop by Olympia, whether to testify, conduct rallies or simply pay him a visit.

“Whenever I get home, I go to the grocery store, because I know that I’ll get feedback there,” Pearson said. “This will be a year of tremendous challenges, but I’m going to do my best to get this state jump-started.”

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