Genevieve Atwood would accept an oil import fee, higher taxes on the rich and maybe a luxury item tax in an effort to balance the federal budget.

But she really doesn't want to talk tax increases; she supports Rep. Newt Gingrich's plan of spending cuts first.Gingrich, R-Ga., House minority whip, led the successful fight against President Bush's first compromise budget package a week ago. Friday, Gingrich endorsed Atwood's campaign via a telephone news conference, saying incumbent Democratic Rep. Wayne Owens is a "national liberal Democrat."

"We had 62 budget waivers this Congress - votes to increase the budget. Wayne voted against just one," said Gingrich. "When you vote for those budget increases, you have to vote to raise taxes also. And he has.

"It's no surprise to me that Wayne gets only an 11 percent rating from the national Chamber of Commerce on budget matters, that he gets a 70 percent rating from a national liberal organization. Wayne is a nice man, but philosophically there is a real difference between he and I and between he and Genevieve."

Gingrich said Democrats, including Owens, just voted for a bill that includes a $500,000 museum for the North Dakota hometown of Lawrence Welk.

"What's happening back here? The Democrats, like Wayne, are voting more and more porkbarrel projects" while trying to raise taxes to pay for them and reduce the deficit.

In questioning from reporters, Atwood said she'd consider cuts in all programs except Social Security. Other entitlement programs, mid-level federal management, federal pay raises, all should be considered for the budget ax.

Atwood said she would support an oil import fee to bring the cost of oil to about $30 a barrel even after prices drop following the resolution of the current Mideast crisis.

"I'd let the American oil companies keep any revenue (that would come in selling U.S. oil at the higher, foreign oil level), profits would go into exploration and development." Higher oil prices would result in conservation, which she supports.

She also supports raising the top income tax bracket from 28 percent to 31 percent for the wealthy. "I'd consider a luxury tax, but I want real spending cuts before I'd look at any tax increases," she said.