When senators Florence Shapiro and Steve Ogden earlier today said they had a budget deal, the deal apparently was just among the senators. House Speaker Joe Straus just issued this statement:

“We appreciate the Senate’s willingness to keep working with us to pass a budget that is fiscally responsible and that does not raise taxes. “When the House passed a balanced, no new taxes budget in April, we said it was a starting point and that we intended to add funds for priorities, including public schools, as those funds became available. “Earlier this week, Comptroller Combs updated her projections of state revenue and House conferees on the budget promptly agreed to put those dollars toward our first priority, our public schools. The additional revenue from the Comptroller and the improving economy have allowed House budget negotiators to find an additional $2 billion to fund public schools and another $1 billion for border security, nursing homes, transportation, and higher education, for a total of $3 billion. We are prepared to enact legislation that will allow us to pay for these priorities within a balanced budget and without raising taxes or further using the Rainy Day Fund. “In any successful negotiation, both sides have to make compromises. The House has gone more than halfway to meet the Senate, and it is now time for the Senate to do its part by making additional spending cuts. I look forward to continuing to work with the Senate and am hopeful that we can pass a budget that lives within our means.”

The sticking point is that the Senate wants about $830 more than the House spends on higher education. That fight is being led by Ogden, who represents Texas A&M University, and by Robert Duncan, who has Texas Tech. The House apparently is not opposed to that spending level, only with how the Senate wants to pay for it. I was told the Senate proposals ranged from tapping the rainy day fund to some accounting gimmicks that House Republican Caucus Chairman Larry Taylor told me were “pie in the sky.”