Local housing market shows gains in prices
Tucson's housing market held steady in February with gains in home prices and the lowest number of monthly foreclosures since March 2008.
The median sales price last month was $149,000, an increase of more than 19 percent over February 2012, statistics from the Tucson Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Services show.
Cash sales continued to increase and reached 40 percent last month, up from 36 percent in January.
Unit sales also increased, from 884 in January to 951 last month.
Records from the Pima County Recorder's Office show 279 foreclosures in February - the lowest number since March 2008 when 275 homes were sold in foreclosure.
That number had steadily climbed and peaked in December 2009, when 706 homeowners lost their houses to foreclosure, records show.
That year, a total of 5,826 houses went into foreclosure.
Arizona Daily Star
Tax credit for hiring jobless vets advances
PHOENIX - Businesses could get state tax credits for hiring unemployed veterans under legislation approved Monday by the state House.
HB 2484 would give companies an income tax credit equal to 10 percent of the worker's annual salary or $2,000 per employee ($4,000 for someone who has a service-connected disability), whichever is less.
The veteran has to be honorably discharged for the employer to get the credit. And the salary would have to be equal to at least the median wage in the state.
The credit would be available to employers for hires made until the end of 2015.
Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, complained the legislation is too broad, saying it should instead focus only on those veterans who are disabled or who recently left the military. He said the state has only a limited amount of money it can forgo to an employer who hires someone who may have been out of the service for decades.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Mark Cardenas, D-Phoenix, passed on a 47-11 vote and now goes to the Senate.
Capitol Media Services
State-land endowment surpasses $4 billion
PHOENIX - The account that holds and invests money from the sale of Arizona trust land has topped $4 billion for the first time ever.
State Treasurer Doug Ducey said total assets in the state's Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund exceeded the $4 billion mark at the end of February.
The fund gets it cash from the sale of some of the 10 million-plus acres of land granted to Arizona at statehood in 1910 and the treasurer invests the money. Sixty percent is invested in stocks and the rest in high-grade corporate bonds and U.S. Treasury notes.
More than 90 percent of the earnings from the fund are distributed to state's K-12 schools. In the budget year that begins on July 1, nearly $68 million will go to those schools.
The Associated Press
Citrus quarantine area expanded to Mohave
YUMA - A quarantine area in western Arizona has been expanded by state agriculture officials who are trying to prevent the spread of an insect that carries a disease that kills citrus plants.
The quarantine on moving uncertified citrus plants was imposed in southwestern Yuma County after the Agriculture Department detected the Asian citrus psyllid in San Luis in 2009. Since then, a statewide trapping program has found the insects in only isolated instances.
But multiple detections in the Lake Havasu City area in January prompted the state to expand the quarantine to an area around the Mohave County community. The state asks the public to buy citrus only from inspected and certified nursery stock for home planting.
The Associated Press