By BILL ADAIR, PAUL DE LA GARZA and MARY JACOBY
© St. Petersburg Times,
100-million rebate checks being prepared for mailing
The checks soon will be in the mail.
Now that President Bush's tax cut has been signed into law, the Treasury Department is gearing up to send nearly 100-million rebate checks to taxpayers.
In mid July, taxpayers should receive a letter from the department explaining the size of the rebate and when it is likely to be mailed.
The money will be sent as a single check and, because it is considered a rebate, will not be considered taxable income.
Single taxpayers will receive rebates up to $300; heads of households will receive up to $500; and married couples will receive up to $600.
Most taxpayers will receive the maximum amounts because most earn taxable income of at least $6,000 for singles, $10,000 for heads of household and $12,000 for married couples, according to Rob Nichols, deputy assistant secretary of the treasury.
Treasury officials expect their mailing list to be up to date because it is based on 2000 tax returns. If you have moved since you filed your 2000 return, make sure you file a change-of-address card with the post office. The Treasury Department will get the address changes from the Postal Service.
"As long as they filled out (the post office) form, the check will go to the correct address," Nichols said.
The checks will be mailed from late July through September, an average of 11-million per week.
Van Susteren and husband invested in Scientology member's scheme
CNN legal commentator Greta Van Susteren and her husband, tobacco litigator John Coale, were among more than 500 clients who invested money with a Church of Scientology member who is now under federal criminal investigation.
Unregistered investment adviser Reed Slatkin of Santa Barbara, Calif., has told Securities and Exchange Commission investigators that he met many of his clients through Scientology. Van Susteren and Coale, who live in Washington but have a second home in Clearwater, are prominent members of the church.
Slatkin's assets have been frozen and his offices searched as federal authorities try to build a case that he was conducting a Ponzi scheme, using money from new investors to pay off old investors.
In April, three investors sued Slatkin, claiming he had failed to return $34-million of their funds.
"We were lucky," Coale told the Wall Street Journal last week. He and Van Susteren got their initial investment back "and then some," Coale said.
Weldon, R-Pa., now key supporter of missile defense system
Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., could never be accused of being soft on defense. He is, after all, chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee.
In 1989 during Bush I, Weldon helped organize a diverse group from among defense contractors, labor and Congress to restore funding to the ill-fated $38-billion Osprey aircraft program. Then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney had tried to scrap the program, citing its cost.
Although the Osprey, which takes off like a helicopter but flies like an airplane, has yet to go into full production, Congress is still funding the program. The Osprey has been in the news recently because of a series of fatal crashes.
Now, Weldon has taken on another cause. While Europe, Russia and China have expressed misgivings about President Bush's decision to forge ahead with a missile defense system, Weldon is turning out to be one of the program's biggest cheerleaders.
Later this month, Weldon will be the keynote speaker at a conference in Pennsylvania sponsored by the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis.
In case anyone confuses his stance on the subject, conference organizers are promoting his speech in the latest issue of Defense News, a must-read for people interested in defense. An ad promoting the conference reads: "DEFENDING the Northeast, the Nation, and America's Allies from BALLISTIC MISSILE ATTACK."
An image of a missile launch covers the ad.
- Compiled by staff writers Bill Adair, Paul de la Garza and Mary Jacoby.
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