House Democrats: Budget deal still not in place

House Democrats: Budget deal still not in place
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POSTED: Friday, May 17, 2013 - 8:50am

UPDATED: Friday, May 17, 2013 - 8:52am

 

The lead budget negotiator for Democrats in the Texas House said Friday morning that a budget deal is not in place, despite a new offer from Senate leaders announced late Thursday evening.

“I am not aware of an offer by the Senate,” state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, said. He suggested that Democrats have yet to see an offer that provides the minimum $3.9 billion in new school funding they are demanding.

“What’s so complicated about this?” Turner said. “It’s not Algebra II. This is not even Algebra I.”

Turner also suggested some of the offers being made by Republican leaders are attempting to make it appear that more money is being added to education than really is.

“Let’s not play games,” Turner said. “Let’s have a grown-up conversation. Let’s put all our hands above the table and whatever your position is, that is your position. Let us not engage in smoke and mirrors.”

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst told The Associated Press late Thursday that the major points of a new two-year budget that included just over $4 billion in additional funding for education had been resolved. 

Turner spoke Friday after the House Appropriations Committee met and voted out a revised version of Senate Joint Resolution 1 that would ask voters to approve a constitutionally dedicated water infrastructure fund. Lawmakers would still have to appropriate the money into the fund, expected to be $2 billion, as part of a final budget deal. Turner and five other Democrats on the committee voted “present not voting” on the resolution. Turner explained the resolution is one part of the budget deal and that Democrats can’t support it until they see how it fits into the full package.

A reporter asked Turner what he thought of Gov. Rick Perry’s comment Thursday that some people were trying to “blow up the session” and force him to call a special session.

To the tune of a famous Michael Jackson song, Turner sang, “I’m looking for the man in the mirror.”

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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2013/05/17/house-democrats-say-budget-deal-still-not-place/.

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