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Holdout GOP senators back tax deal

By Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 8, 2003

WASHINGTON - The Senate's Republican tax writers struck an agreement Wednesday on a dividend tax cut, ensuring that a scaled-back version of President Bush's call to eliminate such taxes entirely for shareholders will win support in the Senate Finance Committee.

The proposal combines elements favored by GOP moderates and conservatives. Shareholders would not pay taxes on the first $500 of dividend income.

Shareholders with more than $500 in dividend income will get an additional percentage tax-free. For roughly five years, an extra 10 percent will be tax-free. For the next five years, an extra 20 percent will be tax-free.

The Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on the bill today.

The redrafted dividend tax cut won support from Sens. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and George Voinovich, R-Ohio, who had forced Republicans to bargain for a smaller dividend tax cut. It is still opposed by Democrats on the panel.

Bush chooses secretaries for Navy and Army

WASHINGTON - President Bush has chosen New Mexico oilman Colin R. McMillan to be the secretary of the Navy and Air Force Secretary James Roche to replace the dismissed secretary of the Army, Thomas White.

The White House announced Bush's picks Wednesday.

White was dismissed April 25 by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and is due to leave office Friday.

The Navy has not had a permanent secretary since Gordon England left in January to become deputy secretary of the new Department of Homeland Security.

No one has been nominated as Roche's replacement at the Air Force.

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