Elon Musk‘s most senior Tesla employees were left blindsided by the CEO’s sudden decision to relocate the company from California to Texas earlier this month – only finding out about it when Musk first announced the planned move to shareholders three weeks ago, a top California politician has revealed.
‘Elon didn’t even tell his team,’ California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s principal economic advisor Dee Dee Williams revealed during a press call with several news outlets when asked if the state had received any advanced notice of Musk’s plans, Bloomberg reported after taking part in the call Tuesday afternoon.
‘We later talked to the leadership in his offices in California, who did not know until he made that announcement,’ Myers then confirmed. She spoke days after a $4.2 billion deal with Hertz to buy 100,000 Teslas sent the firm’s value soaring to $1 trillion.
Musk first announced the prospective move to attendees of company’s annual shareholder meeting on October 7, which was held at a factory Tesla is building outside the city of Austin – the very location Musk says will become the company’s new base of operations
California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s principal economic advisor Dee Dee Williams revealed during a press call Tuesday that Elon Musk’s most senior Tesla employees were left blindsided by the CEO’s sudden decision to relocate the company from California to Texas earlier this month – only finding out about it when Musk first announced it to shareholders three weeks ago
Despite the lawmaker’s claims, it remains unclear if any Tesla employees, senior or otherwise, were notified about the move beforehand.
The revelation comes mere weeks after Musk first announced the prospective move to attendees of company’s annual shareholder meeting on October 7, which was held at a factory Tesla is building outside the city of Austin – the very location Musk says will become the company’s new base of operations.
The move makes good on a threat Musk issued more than a year ago to the top brass of the Golden State, after the colorful CEO was left frustrated by local coronavirus lockdown orders that forced the company to pause production at its factory in Fremont.
The site of the new Tesla factory in Austin, Texas, that Musk is looking to move the company’s operations to. As of October 25, when this photo was taken, the structure is still being built
Musk was an outspoken early critic of pandemic restrictions, calling them ‘fascist’ – and predicting in March 2020 that there would be almost no new COVID cases by the end of April of that year.
The Tesla Chief Executive also cited the high cost of housing and the long commutes for his employees as reasons behind the move, despite not notifying them about it, says Myers.
Moreover, the move to Texas has tax implications – both personal and business – for Musk and his company.
California boasts the nation’s highest personal income tax and capital gains tax rates, of approximately 13.3 percent each. Texas has no state income tax or capital gains tax on company profits, although people living there must still pay federal levies.
What’s more, those come in addition to similar charges collected at the federal level, which then increase the overall total for a given individual.
Musk recently became the world’s richest person, with his fortune just short of $300 billion – however, a great deal of his wealth is explicably linked to stock options that hinge on Tesla reaching certain financial targets.
With that said, the billionaire is required to pay a slew of state capital gains taxes and personal income tax every time he exercises those options.
Musk, pictured here outside Tesla’s current headquarters in Palo Alto, is looking to sever all ties with the state of California – where his company was founded
Before listing the Bay Area home Musk had gone on a spree the past 13 months, selling six of his properties, as well as one in 2019, for a total of $114million
Texas, on the other hand, does not have either of those taxes – meaning Musk could save billions of dollars in tax money with the move.
But during Musk’s announcement at the annual shareholder meeting a few weeks ago, the exec was adamant that the company would keep the original Palo Alto factory and expand production there as well.
‘There’s a limit to how big you can scale in the Bay Area,’ Musk said during the announcement.
But in Texas, Musk said, ‘Our factory’s like five minutes from the airport, 15 minutes from downtown.’
‘We’re gonna create ecological paradise right here.’
While he did not give a timeline of when Tesla’s headquarters in Texas will be operational, with the plant still under construction, he noted that it takes less time to build a factory than it does to reach high-volume production.
He said that the plant in Texas will closely resemble Tesla’s Shanghai factory, which was built in 11 months and reached high-volume production after a year.
Musk personally moved to Texas last December just a stone’s throw from the still-under-construction factory, after systematically selling most his assets, declaring in May of last year, ‘I am selling almost all physical possessions. Will own no house.’
The 50-year-old revealed in a tweet that the rented home is worth about $50,000 – less than the cost of a base Tesla Model S (Pictured: A Boxabl Casita similar to the one Musk is said to be renting)
Musk, one of the world’s richest men, is living in a tiny prefab house by the company Boxabl on the SpaceX site in Texas, according to reports (Pictured: A Boxabl Casita similar to the one Musk is said to be renting)
The exec looks to be making good on his word so far, selling a slew of his properties – all of which were situated in California – leaving only his Bay Area home, which is now up for sale as well.
Now, the Tesla founder is living in a 375-square-foot prefab-style trailer just outside of Austin – situated a stone’s throw away from the company’s bourgeoning new headquarters.
The home, referred to colloquially as a Tiny House, costs less than a base Tesla Model S and is made by the company Boxabl – a company that delivers premade houses.
With that said, Myers remained skeptical of the billionaire playboy’s true intentions regarding the move – which she says is not even a certainty.
‘I don’t think anybody knows exactly what it means that he’s moving his headquarters,’ Myers said.
‘From the perspective of California, they’re not going anywhere.’
Myers also penned an op-ed piece earlier this week declaring that Tesla owed its success to the state that she currently serves – where Tesla was also founded.
It is still not yet clear if any Tesla employees, senior or otherwise, were notified about the move beforehand
She also criticized the CEO for moving to Texas, citing the Lone Star State’s lax regulations concerning carbon emissions.
Moreover, the move, if successful, would come as a huge blow to Myers’ state, with several California companies already announcing relocations to Texas in recent months.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise said in December that the company’s headquarters would relocated to the Houston area, and since has, and Charles Schwab has moved its operations to a suburb of Dallas and Fort Worth.
Texas has become a bit of a haven for workers in recent years as well, boasting a much lower cost of living than the slew of cities across Southern California and Silicon Valley.
Austin, in particular, is a thriving liberal locale.
Tesla, however, has yet to relocate to Austin from its Palo Alto base, and the company has also yet to comment on the prospective move.