US President George W. Bush will leave out of his budget widely anticipated Iraq-related costs and an expensive tax system overhaul to meet his election-year goal of cutting the federal deficit, congressional aides and budget analysts said on Friday. \nBush is banking on strong economic growth and spending restraint from Congress -- neither of which is a certainty -- to reduce the deficit from this year's projected record high of US$521 billion to less than US$260 billion by fiscal 2009. \nCongressional officials and analysts say Bush will also rely on budget gimmicks -- from stretching the definition of homeland security to sidestep spending limits to proposing only a temporary extension of provisions that prevent the alternative minimum tax from raising taxes for potentially millions of middle-class workers. \nEven though the Pentagon is all but certain to need US$40 billion or more to fund operations in Iraq in the next fiscal year, the White House has told lawmakers that Bush's US$401.7 billion military budget for next year will leave that out, congressional aides and analysts said. \nDoing so makes it easier for the administration to project a reduction in the deficit next year. But the decision is already drawing fire from Bush's Democratic challengers, as well as fiscal conservatives, who say the administration could provide at least a partial cost estimate. \nAn administration official defended the decision to put off any Iraq-related requests until Congress convenes in 2005 after the election. \n"It is too early to adequately predict what the needs will be," he said. \nCongressional aides said the White House was taking a similar approach toward taxes. \nBut Bush has little choice, if he hopes to cut the deficit in half on schedule. According to congressional estimates, fixing the alternative minimum tax and related changes could cost US$658 billion over 10 years, and push the deficit well above US$260 billion in 2009. \nBush can ill-afford to let the current alternative minimum tax relief expire at the end of this year since doing so would raise taxes for millions of mid-level earners, a critical voting block in the November presidential election. \nRepublicans and Democrats criticized the practice as deceptive. \n"It's irresponsible," said one senior Senate aide of Bush's plans for the alternative minimum tax, which requires some middle and upper-income taxpayers to calculate their taxes in two ways and pay the higher bill. \nCongressional aides say the White House has settled on a stop-gap measure to minimize the budget impact. \nInstead of proposing a budget-busting long-term fix, the administration is expected to propose one to two-year extensions of the alternative minimum tax provisions, delaying the issue and the costs. \nUnlike the regular income tax, the alternative minimum tax is not indexed for inflation. This means that the number of people affected will skyrocket -- and reach further into the middle class. By 2010, the alternative minimum tax could affect one-third of all tax returns.
Softbank Group Corp plans to keep a stake in the chip designer Arm Ltd, even if it sells a partial interest to Nvidia Corp, the Nikkei reported. The companies are negotiating terms, the newspaper reported, citing sources. Softbank might take a stake in Nvidia after it buys Arm, the report said. Nvidia and Arm might also merge through a share swap, and Softbank would become a major shareholder in the combined company, it said. The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the
END TO SPECULATION: The hotel’s management contract has been extended, despite reports that it wanted to end its alliance with Hyatt Hotels over a deal with Riant Capital Singapore-based Hong Leong Hotel Development Ltd (豐隆大飯店股份) yesterday said it has extended a management contract to ensure the continued presence of the Grand Hyatt brand in Taipei, ending rumors that the two sides were parting ways. “We are pleased Hyatt is able to come to terms on the extension of the management contract of Grand Hyatt Taipei,” said Kwek Leng Beng (郭令明), executive chairman of City Developments Ltd (城市發展) and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Ltd (千禧國敦酒店). Hong Leong Hotel Development is a subsidiary of Millennium, and both fall under the Hong Leong Group (豐隆集團). The Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), owned and built by
Gold surged to a fresh record on Friday, fueled by US dollar weakness and low interest rates, while silver headed for its best month since 1979. Spot bullion is up more than 10 percent this month, as US real yields lingered near record lows. While the ferocity of rallies in gold and silver cooled in the middle of the week, most market watchers predict there might be more gains ahead. Both metals have added about 30 percent this year, with gold and silver exchange-traded funds boosting holdings to a record, as concern about the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic fuels demand for
MOVING FROM CHINA? The article did not name the company, but Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron were among firms chosen for a production-linked incentive plan in India An Apple Inc vendor is looking at shifting six production lines to India from China, which could result in US$5 billion of iPhone exports from the South Asian nation, the Times of India reported, citing people familiar with the matter who it did not identify. The establishment of the facility would create about 55,000 jobs over about a year, the newspaper reported, not naming the Apple vendor. It would also cater to the domestic market and expand operations to include tablets and laptops, the newspaper reported. Samsung Electronics Co and Apple’s assembly partners are among 22 companies that have pledged 110 billion