Top Washington state legislator: Higher taxes are on table: Higher taxes should be part of the Legislature’s solution to the state’s $8 billion budget deficit, but officials must ensure the burden doesn’t fall too heavily on the poor, a top state lawmaker said Thursday. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, said the Legislature can’t rely on spending cuts alone to close a massive budget shortfall: That would only worsen the state’s economic woes by leading to more layoffs. | Seattle Times
Health-care budget: The rich would help the sick: President Barack Obama plans to begin paying for a health-care overhaul with $634 billion in new taxes on wealthy Americans and by changing the way the government pays for some health services. | Wenatchee World
Jobless Americans top 5 million mark: As bad as it is already, the economy keeps getting worse — and government figures Thursday provided more evidence that the downward spiral won’t end anytime soon. | Seattle P.I.
Obama faces an uphill battle on pledge to halve federal deficit: As President Obama presents his first budget today, the most daunting goal he has set may not be the ambitious proposals for economic recovery, healthcare reform or revamping the nation’s energy policy. Big as those challenges are, they may be child’s play compared with his promise to slash the federal budget deficit in half by the end of his first term. | L.A. Times
Obama proposes $3.6 trillion budget: President Barack Obama charted a dramatic new course for the nation Thursday with a bold but contentious budget plan proposing higher taxes for the wealthy and the first steps toward guaranteed health care for all – accompanied by an astonishing $1.75 trillion federal deficit that would be nearly four times the highest in history. | The Spokesman-Review
Oregon unemployment rate jumps to 9.9 percent: Every major sector cuts jobs as economy shows ‘continued weakness’. | Portland Tribune