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Pittsburgh - Downtown's second freestanding department store, Lord & Taylor, recently opened amid calls for an audit of the project's $28 million financing, according to USA Today. The newspaper reported that while Mayor Tom Murphy calls the project another step in the city's economic rebirth, City Council President Bob O'Connor wants to evaluate the deal that attracted the upscale retailer. A Lazarus store that opened in 1998 has failed to meet sales projections.

Washington - Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Mike Enzi (R-WY) and George Voinovich (R-OH) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MI) urging him not to extend the Internet tax moratorium, which expires October 2001. As part of the Internet Tax Freedom Act of 1998, the current moratorium allows for purchases made over the Internet to be free of sales tax.

Hutchison, Enzi and Voinovich asked for a tax policy that does not favor one type of transaction more than another. By not extending the moratorium, the 107th Congress will have an entire session to draw up a compromise between state and local governments and retailers and e-commerce businesses that will satisfy all affected parties.

The e-Fairness Coalition, which represents more than 1.5 million brick-and-mortar and on-line retailers, supports the letter to Senator Lott. "This would send the signal that the federal government is not going to engage in choosing winners and losers by skewing tax policy to favor one type of competitor over another," says Lisa Cowell, executive director of the e-Fairness Coalition.

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