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Eye On Olympia

Giving it the old college try…

Rep. Don Cox tried Wednesday morning to add an amendment to the House construction budget that would allow Washington State University to use interest off its land income (like timber sales) to pay for a new $63 million life sciences lab in Pullman.

Without that key research facility, Cox said, "We have one university, a research university, one of our flagship universities, that has a hand tied behind their back."

Building that lab, he said, "positions Washington State University to be in that competitive game and prosper...To delay it means that they're seriously handicapped in trying to catch up."

Sorry, said construction budget chairman Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish. His committee voted down Cox's amendment.

"This building will be done in the '07 session," Dunshee said, noting that the school got new buildings in Spokane, the Tri-Cities and Vancouver last year. WSU's land money, he said, should be used for maintenance, not new labs.

But stay tuned. Both Gov. Chris Gregoire and Senate budget writers are backing the WSU project this year.

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