Texas has enjoyed a decade of relative prosperity under Governor Rick Perry, but this upcoming election cycle will be his toughest test yet. I believe his opponent Bill White will put up a good fight but what will truly challenge Rick Perry is not a person but a number. 18-billion to be more exact as an 18-billion dollar budget shortfall that Governor Perry will have to address during the campaign. That's right, the state of Texas that has managed to stay in the black on the balance sheet, is facing an 18 billion dollar shortfall. Lawmakers will be faced with raising taxes or cutting state services to try to curtail the shortfall but Rick Perry will be the face of whatever decisions are made. Texas has 8 point 2 billion dollars in the infamous rainy day fund but obviously that will address only part of the problem. Yes, this will be a test for really both candidates but Governor Perry has the reigns currently and it is his plan that will be scrutinized most. Perry has shined during past crisis but they have generally been concentrated and event based. This is a problem in his own backyard and one he must address start to finish. It will not go away in a few months and it cold devour all in its path. We need leadership at the state level more than ever and addressing this will go a long way to strengthening our state and making for a Better East Texas.