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Homebuilding strong in Mesa

MESA - New home construction permits are on the rise in Mesa. The city has seen an increase in the permit activity since falling below 20 in February. Mesa saw 72 permits in June, the latest numbers available. The number of permits is considered a good measure of upcoming home construction activity.

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Sales tax breaks erode state revenues

As shoppers in 15 states rush to buy tax-free clothing and school supplies this August, some lawmakers are experiencing buyer's remorse: Their "sales-tax holidays" are pinching revenues at a time when state coffers are hurting.

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Budget woes, recession challenge day-labor centers

Until a day-labor center opened nearby, jobseekers in Keenan Strand's north Phoenix neighborhood used to drink from people's hoses, urinate on walls and duck behind bushes to escape triple-digit heat while waiting for work. But the economic downturn is threatening the 6-year-old day-labor center and others like it around the country, leaving some advocates concerned that job seekers will return to neighborhoods and street corners in search of work.

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Hard times lead to more power cutoffs in Phoenix

Two Phoenix area electric utilities cutoff power to more homes in June of this year than in June of 2008. Hard economic times and higher rates led consumers to fall behind in their bills. APS raised average household monthly rates about $4.50 in December, and SRP raised its average bill about $4.70 in October.

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Lawmakers: Changes needed on foreclosure bill (access required)

UPDATE - Sen. Steve Pierce told the Arizona Capitol Times that his foreclosure bill will have to be fixed, either in special session or next year when the Legislature begins the regular session. Pierce and stakeholders met this afternoon (July 28) to discuss changes to the legislation.

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