Tesla chief executive Elon Musk hinted Friday that a ‘F*ck Elon Musk’ tweet posted by State Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez in May 2020 actually inspired him to move his company over to Texas.
The billionaire confirmed his motivations in a response to a Tesmanian.com article titled ‘Tesla Moved its HQ to Texas Following Explicit Offer from California Assemblywoman.’ ‘Exactly,’ Musk tweeted.
The 50-year-old tech genius announced last Thursday that Tesla’s headquarters were moving from Palo Alto, California, to Austin, Texas to take advantage of the state’s lack of personal income tax.
He was also following through on a promise he made over a year ago in response to California’s strict coronavirus guidelines.
Seemingly, though, Gonzalez’s Twitter criticism might have also played a role in Tesla’s rehoming.
He violated local health orders in May 2020 when he reopened Tesla’s California factory during a lockdown, drawing rage from Gonzalez.
‘California has highly subsidized a company that has always disregarded worker safety and well-being, has engaged in union busting and bullies public servants,’ Gonzalez tweeted.
‘I probably would have expressed my frustration in a less aggressive way. Of course, no one would have cared if I tweeted that.’
It’s not clear at this time exactly how much the move will cost California via jobs and lost tax revenue.
Musk has vowed to expand Tesla’s operations in Fremont, California, despite relocating its headquarters. The Fremont plant employs more than 10,000 people.
It is also unknown how many people are employed at the Palo Alto headquarters, but Tesla has previously noted that the 350,000-square-foot building could accommodate up to 650 people.
The company has touted itself as one of California’s largest manufacturing employees; it wrote on its website that it stimulated $5.5billion in sales – and generated $4.1billion in spending- during the 2017 fiscal year.
Musk insisted that Tesla, which has been in Silicon Valley since 2003, has outgrown its Fremont factory.
‘It’s like we’re spam in a can here,’ he declared during last Thursday’s announcement, adding that there’s sparse affordable housing and a lot of workers have a long commute.
But in Texas, Musk said, ‘Our factory’s like five minutes from the airport, 15 minutes from downtown and we’re gonna create ecological paradise right here.’
While he did not reveal a timeline of when Tesla’s headquarters in Texas will be operational, 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 plant, which was built in 11 months and reached high-volume production after a year.
Musk personally moved to Texas this past December.