Early Briefing: Latinos in Prince William
*The Latino subculture in Prince William County appears to be coming undonet, hurt by the crackdown on illegal immigration and construction downturn. It's hurting the business of local Latino stores and restaurants, as well as other shops such as the 99 Cent Plus in Woodbridge. See story
*Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has a proposal to repeal to the computer-services tax that involves a surcharge on millionaires' income, diverting transportation funding and additional budget cuts in state agencies. Montgomery County officials have been among the leading voices against tax, which would apply to a wide range of services, including custom software design and data processing. See story
*Constellation Energy is set to announce that it will give 1.1 million electricity customers in the Washington-Baltimore area a one-time $170 credit on their bills, in an agreement that needs General Assembly approval, sources say. The deal would also get rid of the estimated $5.2 billion that customers were set to have to pay Constellation to dismantle its Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant. See story
*The Government Accountability Office said the Pentagon relies too heavily on contractors who work alongside government employees, cost more and sometimes overstep the terms of their jobs. For its study, the GAO looked at the Army Contracting Agency's Contracting Center of Excellence.
The GAO found that 42 percent of the Army's CCE procurement specialists are contractors, up from 24 percent in fiscal 2005, and nearly all of them work for CACI International of Arlington, one of the 50 largest contractors in the country. See story
*American Capital Strategies, an alternative asset manager, said it priced its public offering of 8.7 million shares of its common stock at $36.41 per share. The Bethesda company said it would collect about $302 million from the offering. American Capital said it granted underwriters options to buy as many as 1.3 million additional shares to cover over-allotments. All of the shares are being sold by the company. The offering is expected to close Monday.
*Russian steelmaker Severstal said it plans to quickly increase production at the Sparrows Point mill near Baltimore after it completes its acquisition of the plant. Severstal said the $810 million deal could receive final approval from the Justice Department and federal regulators as early as mid-May. Company officials told financial analysts in a conference call that they plan to bring production to full capacity of 3.6 million tons a year. The plant shipped 2.3 million tons last year.
Severstal is buying the plant from Luxembourg-based Arcelor Mittal. That company was ordered by the Justice Department to sell Sparrows Point to resolve antitrust issues.
*Tier Technologies, a Reston computer-consulting and software firm, said its chief financial officer, David E. Fountain, resigned. Fountain, who became finance chief in May 2005, informed the company that his resignation would be effective April 4, Tier Technologies said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company didn't say why Fountain quit.
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