AUSTIN (AP) — Gov. Rick Perry shrugged off suggestions by top Democrats on Wednesday that his office is derailing state budget talks by steering money away from public education.
With just 11 days to go in the legislative session, no deal has been reached on the Texas budget for the next two years.
Democratic lawmakers say a key sticking point is Perry told GOP leaders to squelch an agreement that would have put $3.9 billion back toward education after 2011, when the Legislature cut $5.4 billion from classrooms.
Perry responded Thursday that "obviously we put substantial dollars into education." He wouldn't say how much is enough.
The governor said some are creating conflict to wreck the legislative session "just to see the pieces of the machinery blow up through the air."
Democratic state Rep. Sylvester Turner on Thursday accused Republican leaders of taking money set aside for education to pay for transportation and tax cuts. House Democrats huddled ahead of an afternoon meeting between House and Senate budget negotiators.
Republican state Rep. Jim Pitts, the House budget chief, said Thursday morning that a deal with the Senate remained elusive despite his earlier confidence that a compromise would be in place by now.
Turner said House Democrats agreed last week to vote on a budget that included an extra $3.9 billion for education. He says Republicans are now going back on the plan.
Only slightly more than a week remains in the 140-day legislative session.
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