The March 2009 issue of Budget & Tax News exposes Congressional Democrats’ plan to triple the cigarette tax in order to fund an expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, SCHIP. The tax hike would be in direct violation of President Barack Obama’s promise not to raise taxes on Americans making less than $200,000 a year.
The president’s proposal to jump-start the economy with a massive federal infrastructure spending plan also makes page 1. Other top stories:
* Federal infrastructure spending may worsen the financial problems of many state and local governments while providing an enormous boost to organized labor.
* California entered 2009 with a state budget deficit estimated by the governor’s office to exceed $40 billion in the next 18 months, amid warnings the state could run out of money by February.
* Arizona could be facing a budget deficit of 30 percent of total general fund spending, giving the state the largest budget deficit in the nation on a percentage basis.
* A suburban St. Louis fire protection district plans to ask voters to cut—that’s right, cut—the district’s tax rate.
* Officials in State College, Pennsylvania, home of Penn State University, hope to squeeze more money out of college students by adopting a 10 percent tax on alcoholic drinks purchased at bars and restaurants.