2010 comeback year for tourism in state

Washington tourism rebounded in 2010 after a 2009 downturn that coincided with the last months of the recession, the state Department of Commerce reported Tuesday.

Visitors spent $15.2 billion, off only slightly from the 2008 record of $15.4 billion and an improvement on $14.1 billion for 2009. International travelers were responsible for $1.5 billion of the total spending. Travelers from states other than Washington kicked in $6.8 billion.

Tourism ranked fourth among the state’s export-oriented industries, trailing only aerospace, software and agriculture.

“This report shows that the travel industry in Washington is a significant contributor to our state’s economy,” department Director Rogers Weed said.

Travel receipts boosted state and local taxes 5 percent, but sales taxes just 1 percent.

The department said more visitors, not price increases, generated the additional revenues. Tourism-related employment held steady at 143,800, with a payroll of $4.3 billion.

Bert Caldwell

Jail time ordered for fraud and forgery

A Rathdrum man was sentenced Friday to 18 months in jail on one count each of insurance fraud and forgery.

Joseph Fisher, 44, pleaded guilty to the two felonies Oct 8.

Fisher admitted to forging, in July 2007, a full reconveyance document submitted to Alliance Title that showed he owned a property free of any liens, which was false. He was using the property as collateral.

In September 2007, he again forged a similar document using the name of a trustee. Without the signature, the document would have had no legal force.

First District Court Judge John Luster imposed the sentence, which capped an Idaho Attorney General’s Criminal Law Division prosecution led by Deputy Attorney General Rondee Blessing.

The state Department of Insurance and Federal Bureau of Investigation were brought into the case at the request of Alliance.

In a separate civil case concluded in August 2009, Fisher was ordered to repay Independent Mortgage $226,500.

Bert Caldwell

Earnings roundup

Citigroup Inc. reported fourth-quarter income of $1.3 billion Tuesday, or 4 cents a share, falling short of the 7 cents expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet. The results were an improvement from the loss of $7.6 billion, or 33 cents a share, reported for the same quarter of last year. Revenue was $18.4 billion compared to $5.4 billion a year earlier. For the year, Citigroup earned $10.6 billion on revenue of $86.6 billion.

Apple Inc. said its net income for the holiday quarter jumped 78 percent as shoppers snapped up more iPads than analysts predicted. Net income for Apple’s fiscal first quarter rose to $6 billion, or $6.43 per share, up from $3.4 billion, or $3.67 per share, in the same period a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by FactSet forecast $5.41 per share for the quarter, which ended Dec. 25. Revenue climbed 71 percent.

IBM says its net income rose 9 percent to $5.26 billion, or $4.24 per share, topping analysts’ projections for $4.08 per share.

• Discount broker Charles Schwab Inc. said its fourth-quarter earnings fell 27 percent compared with the previous year’s fourth quarter. Revenue rose 14 percent.

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