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APPLE-AFFORDABLE HOUSING PLEDGE

Mixed reaction to Apple’s affordable housing pledge

UNDATED (AP) _ Apple’s pledge to put up $2.5 billion toward easing California’s housing crisis is drawing positive reviews and scrutiny.

The promised funds top pledges by fellow Silicon Valley giants Google and Facebook for addressing the lack of affordable housing in a region where affluent tech workers have helped drive up the cost of homes.

Apple’s commitment Monday includes a $1 billion statewide fund creating an “open line of credit” for the state to build new homes for households with low to moderate incomes. Another $1 billion is a mortgage assistance fund for first-time homebuyers.

One senior economist says the effort won’t make much difference if it is just creating “cheap financing” for developers or down payments for wealthy home buyers. UCLA economist David Shulman says Apple’s promise of $300 million in company-owned land would be more effective.

VOTING MACHINES-GEORGIA

Georgia tests new voting system before ambitious 2020 switch

ATLANTA (AP) — New voting machines that combine touchscreens with paper ballots are getting a limited test run in Georgia. It’s part of an effort to meet a court-ordered deadline to retire the old touchscreen only system before any votes are cast in 2020.

Voters in six counties are casting ballots on the new machines Tuesday in elections for mayor and other local offices. Georgia’s remaining 153 counties won’t use the new system until the state’s presidential primaries in March.

Elections in Georgia are being closely watched after problems from two-hour waits at the poll to allegations of voter suppression in 2018 led to lawsuits and changes to state law. A federal judge in August ruled Georgia’s paperless voting system in use since 2002 was “seriously flawed” and must be retired by Jan. 1.

HAWAII-VACATION RENTALS

APNewsBreak: Airbnb agrees to provide host records to Hawaii

HONOLULU (AP) — Airbnb is agreeing to provide Hawaii with records for many of its island hosts as the state tries to track down vacation rental operators who haven’t been paying their taxes.

Airbnb and the state Department of Taxation reached the agreement after negotiating the scope of a subpoena sought by the state. First Circuit Court Judge Bert Ayabe approved the deal last week.

Agreement details filed in state Circuit Court say Airbnb will provide the records of 1,000 hosts who received the most revenue from 2016 through 2018. Airbnb will give the state anonymized data for hosts who had more than $2,000 in annual revenue during those years. The state may then request individual records for these hosts.

GERMANY-ELECTRIC CARS

German government extends incentives for electric car buyers

BERLIN (AP) — The German government is supercharging subsidies for electric cars on the day the country’s biggest automaker began production of a new all-electric vehicle.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office says officials and industry representatives agreed late Monday to increase by half the existing government incentives for electric vehicles with a list price of 40,000 euros, the equivalent of $44,500.

German news agency dpa reports that half of the subsidy, in future amounting to 6,000 euros, will be borne by industry.

The subsidy will also be extended from the end of 2020 currently to the end of 2025.

Government and industry also agreed to aim for 50,000 publicly accessible charging stations nationwide by 2022.

Associated Press

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