Third Quarter Earnings Improver: Last Year's Taxes: In last year's third quarter, the Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1993 became effective. The retroactive 1% increase in the corporate tax rate, combined with the requirements of a newly adopted FASB income tax accounting standard, produced some unusually large tax provisions in that period. Direct earnings comparisons between years were unfavorably affected because of those events. Again in 1994, comparing after-tax earnings will be like comparing apples to oranges - only this time it's a happier comparison. Discerning analysts ought to make the necessary adjustments in evaluating bottom-line earnings.