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The Federal Budget, 1978 and Beyond: Prospects for Budget Balance

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Download Special Report No. 44

Special Report No. 44

As required by law, President Ford submitted to Congress on January 17, three days before leaving office, the Federal budget for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1978. On February 22 President Carter presented his initial revisions of the Ford budget. On April 22 the new Administration submitted further revisions, including significant changes in the February estimates, due primarily to the withdrawal of the proposed $50 rebates and other changes in the economic stimulus program, and reflecting re-estimates of budget outlay trends.

The mid-session review of the 1978 budget released July 1, 1977, however, presents by far the most detailed and definitive forecasts for 1977 and 1978 submitted to date by the new Administration . The July estimates for 1977 are based upon actual data for two-thirds of the year, and reflect earlier changes in the economic stimulus program as well as technical re-estimates. The 1978 estimates reflect the energy proposals presented by President Carter in late April, his proposals for financing the Social Security program, the budgetary impact of Congressional actions through June 30, further re-estimates based upon revised economic assumptions and other factors, and an accounting change under which earned income credits in excess of taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. liabilities paid to low-income families, formerly treated as budget outlays, are now reported as income tax refundA tax refund is a reimbursement to taxpayers who have overpaid their taxes, often due to having employers withhold too much from paychecks. The U.S. Treasury estimates that nearly three-fourths of taxpayers are over-withheld, resulting in a tax refund for millions. Overpaying taxes can be viewed as an interest-free loan to the government. On the other hand, approximately one-fifth of taxpayers underwithhold; this can occur if a person works multiple jobs and does not appropriately adjust their W-4 to account for additional income, or if spousal income is not appropriately accounted for on W-4s. s.