The latest proposal may satisfy House Democrats: It calls for putting another $200 million toward education, which Dewhurst and Williams said would raise the total of restored cuts to $4.07 billion. Two years ago, the Legislature slashed public school funding by $5.4 billion to close a massive budget shortfall, and Democrats have called restoring that funding their priority since January.
The proposal also spells out at least $1 billion in tax relief.
"It's a package deal," Dewhurst said.
Republicans stand to score a political victory in the compromise; Williams said the deal would not bust the state spending cap that House negotiators were willing to consider as talks stalled this month but that the Senate deemed forbidden.
Dewhurst and Senate negotiators left the Capitol shortly before midnight following a day of faint signs that a deal was in reach. Budget leaders canceled meetings while Turner accused Perry of swooping in late and telling Republicans not to vote for an agreed-upon plan because too much was being spent on reversing public school cuts.
Perry responded by saying he was "not going to participate" with those he described as trying to create conflict in the waning days of what has been — until now — a largely and unexpectedly harmonious session. Aides to Perry also denied that he told GOP members not to vote on an earlier budget proposal.
Perry wants $1.8 billion in tax cuts and a new $2 billion water fund. The Legislature adjourns May 27, but Perry says he'll keep lawmakers working into June if they don't deliver.
Democrats have 55 votes in the 150-person chamber. Without their support, the House cannot reach the two-thirds threshold necessary to draw $2 billion from the state's Rainy Day Fund in order to jump-start an aggressive, bipartisan plan for new water projects across the drought-parched state.