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Governor supports Boca site for Scripps

Gov. Jeb Bush said Monday he thinks Boca Raton's site proposal for Scripps Research Institute best meets the state's criteria for a "very dense economic cluster surrounding a Scripps nucleus." In a nonbinding, 13-page letter to Palm Beach County commissioners, Bush said two other proposed locations have critical flaws that could delay construction or hamper spin-off development. Palm Beach County commissioners are expected to choose a Scripps site at a meeting today. In addition to Boca's proposal to put biomedical leader Scripps on 30 city-owned acres north of Spanish River Boulevard, the county is considering proposals for Florida Research Park on Beeline Highway and Florida Atlantic University's Jupiter campus.

Bright House boosts

Web access speeds

Bright House Networks is increasing its Internet access speeds for residential customers. The dominant cable company in the Tampa Bay region says it is providing the improvement to Road Runner, Earthlink, AOL and Internet Junction customers at no extra cost. In addition, it also is increasing the speed for its less-expensive Road Runner Lite service to appeal to people who want to switch from dialup access. The changes should take place over the next 10 days.

IRS allows tax credits

to Progress Energy

Progress Energy Inc., owner of utilities in North Carolina and St. Petersburg, said the Internal Revenue Service will allow $1.25-billion of tax credits generated by four synthetic-fuel plants. The conclusion ends a dispute announced in July 2004 over whether the plants had entered service before July 1, 1998, an eligibility requirement for the credits. An unfavorable ruling would have required Progress to pay more than $229-million in back taxes, while slashing earnings and equity, the company said in July 2004.

Merrill Lynch, money manager pursue deal

In a deal with broad ramifications for the securities industry, retail brokerage giant Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. is in talks to trade its asset-management business for a large stake in money manager BlackRock Inc., according to reports published Monday. The deal would transform BlackRock into one of Wall Street's top money managers, with an asset base of about $1-trillion, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported. Both papers said the deal could be completed this week.

T-bill rates rise

Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills rose in Monday's auction to the highest levels in five years. The Treasury Department auctioned $20-billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 4.440 percent, up from 4.375 percent last week. An additional $17-billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 4.540 percent, up from 4.500 percent last week.

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