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State Senate leaders vow to up higher ed funding

A coalition that controls the Washington state Senate is vowing to increase funding for higher education by $300 million.

Senate leaders declined Tuesday to explain how they would pay for the proposal. Lawmakers already face more than a $1 billion shortfall in the next two-year budget cycle and are separately under court order to expand funding for K-12 education.

Republican Sen. Michael Baumgartner says it is possible to write a budget that balances state spending while increasing funding for state colleges and universities. He says it will be a matter of prioritizing where government dollars go.

The senators also propose to require a 3 percent reduction in tuition for in-state students. They also say this will help manage the long-term financial concerns in the state's prepaid tuition program.

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