Great news Visual Studio Express is now free!  This has been passed around the MSDN blogs but I have not seen anything on the TechNet side.  Originaly it was only free for the first year.

'Dan Fernandez, lead product manager for the Visual Studio Express product line has confirmed today that Visual Studio Express (in all its incarnations) will remain free.'
I pulled this info from Alex Barnetts blog.

This is fantastic news because not only do we have a free database with SQL Express but we also have the tools to build great applications free.