The April 2009 issue of Budget & Tax News leads with a report on the federal economic stimulus bill passed in February. Other top stories:
* Barely two weeks after assuming office, President Barack Obama broke one of the central promises of his candidacy by doubling the federal cigarette tax.
* Recent statements and actions of Obama administration officials have some people wondering whether the president may be backing away from a carbon emissions cap-and-trade scheme.
* Despite a $6 billion budget deficit and layoffs at major regional employers such as Starbucks and Boeing, the University of Washington is seeking state subsidies to fund stadium renovations.
* Six months after having their mortgages reworked in a government effort to reduce foreclosures and firm up the housing market, more than half of the homeowners affected are back in default.
* “If we take the $8.6 trillion that we’ve already committed to bailouts, we’re talking more than twice the cost of World War II” in inflation-adjusted dollars, warns Olivier Garret, CEO of Casey Research.
* As states confront budget shortfalls, public employee pay is coming under close scrutiny. At least 19 states have imposed hiring freezes, and several others have banned pay raises and proposed furloughs for state employees.