As expected, President Bush signed a massive bill that would extend expiring tax, health and trade legislation.

The $40 billion package resurrects some 20 tax breaks, including a deduction for research and development initiatives, a renewal of a deduction of up to $4,000 for higher education costs, and the elimination of a 5 percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians.

Bush called it “a good piece of pro-growth legislation” at the signing ceremony.

The bill also would:
• Give tax breaks to teachers who pay for supplies out of their own pockets.

• Allow taxpayers to deduct state and local sales taxes instead of state and local income taxes, a provision that primarily benefits those in states with no income tax.

• Opening up 8.3 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling.

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