Carlyle picked to work on state budget, higher education

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OLYMPIA – In another critical year for the state, leaders in the House have picked Rep. Reuven Carlyle to serve on the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee.  Carlyle, D-Seattle, will also lead as vice chair of the Higher Education Committee.

“The choices we have to make in the budget committee will impact real families in our communities,” Carlyle said.  “As we consider heart-breaking cuts, we have no choice but to be honest and courageous in order to produce a budget that will best move our state forward.”

In the December special session, $588 million of the $1.6 billion budget deficit for the current budget cycle was addressed.  How to address the remaining amount is the Ways and Means Committee’s first problem, before moving onto the projected $4.6 billion shortfall in the two-year budget starting in July.

“It’s time we thoughtfully lay out our state’s priorities and do our best to fund them,” Carlyle said.  “I’ll be challenging colleagues to start fresh with our budgeting, and put dollars where we can unleash opportunity and the entrepreneurial spirit in our state.”

Carlyle served on Higher Education during the last two sessions as well, but this will be his first in the leadership role as vice chair of the committee.

“As we crawl our way out of this recession, advanced education and skills will be key not only to those looking for work, but our state’s overall success,” Carlyle said.  “This generation is behind their parents in educational attainment, which should trouble every man, woman and child across Washington.  While we have a high-quality college system, there’s more we can do and we have no choice but to increase access and affordability to succeed.”

For his third committee, Carlyle will remain on Technology, Energy and Communications.  Access to technology and clean energy are a couple of the policy areas the committee will focus on this year.

The 2011 session is scheduled to end April 24.

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