I fully support the intentions expressed by President Bush to eliminate the federal budget deficit by 2012 and I believe through fiscal restraint and a streamlined, but comprehensive spending plan, it might be possible.  However, any plan that is going to get us out of the red, must be realistic.  We must balance our responsibility to stabilize Iraq and the Middle East while at the same time funding important and pressing domestic priorities at home, including education and health care -- all in a fiscally responsible manner.

Additionally, if we are to implement pay-as-you-go rules, they must be for BOTH spending and tax relief.  A one-sided equation does not get us back into the black.  Savings can and should be found throughout the entire budget.  This will force us to prioritize what we spend and realize the importance of fiscal discipline.

As a former Governor who balanced eight straight budgets, I know this is not an easy task, but that does not mean we shouldn't tackle it head on.