AX THE TAX: In his final budget plan, announced Wednesday, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani proposed a $494 million package of tax cuts that includes a renewed effort to fully eliminate the sales tax on clothing and footwear in the city. New York State repealed its 4 percent tax on items costing under $110, effective a year ago, and permitted cities and counties to do the same, but Giuliani continues to campaign for a full repeal.

DILLARD’S GOES SHOPPING: Dillard’s Inc. said Wednesday it purchased eight former Montgomery Ward stores for approximately $21 million. Ward’s was liquidated earlier this year. Target, Sears and May Co. have also bought Ward sites, while Federated, TJX and Kohl’s are said to have shown interest in certain sites.

MAY 5-YEAR PLAN May Department Stores Co. said it estimates capital spending of $4.3 billion for the next five years, including $2 billion for new stores, $1.1 billion to expand and remodel stores and $380 million for systems and operations improvements. The plan calls for 89 new department stores and 148 David’s Bridal stores totaling 17 million square feet, a 5 percent annual increase. May owns David’s Bridal.

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