I took my MAF screen out with great results too.
I would assume that your '96 Bonnie has the identical airbox as my '96 Olds LS. If it does, another thing you can do help it breathe better is to take out the half of the box on the downstream side of the air filter, the part that connects to the accordian tube on it'* way to the throttle body. You'll notice it has a restrictive plate covering almost all of the box up, with a little cone to let air through. You'll also notice how the air filter only gets dirty in a little circle where the air gets to go through that cone.
Notice how the plate thing is 'welded' into the box. If you take a drill or Dremel, you can drill through the welds, and take the plate out. Be very careful that you don't drill through the weld and out the side of the box... don't ask me how I know this.
After I removed the MAF screen, and took that plate out, the car was much more snappy off the line, and accelerates harder in higher rpms. And I would say the mileage is the same or better.
FYI, I"m sure the restictive plate is there to quiet the intake down. THe MAF screen is there to provide a smooth flow over the MAF sensor, which I'm sure it'* good at, but it'* a restriction and a compromise. Removing it won't hurt anything, and you can always put it back in if you don't like the result.