by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Tesla CEO Elon Musk put his California houses on the market this year while he was sparring with state lawmakers over Covid-19 restrictions. He’s simultaneously been expanding operations in Texas and cozying up to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
Now, several of his close friends and associates say that Musk has told them he’s planning to move to the Lone Star State. The people with knowledge of his plans asked not to be named because their conversations were private.
Musk, the world’s second-wealthiest person behind Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, is in Texas frequently already. He spends most of his time between Austin, where Tesla and his tunnel start-up Boring Company have operations, and a coastal village called Boca Chica, home to a SpaceX facility. SpaceX started operating in Texas in 2003.
You need only follow Musk on Twitter to see his presence in the state, as he often posts photos and videos from SpaceX’s test and launch site known as the Starship Production Complex.
California, often condemned by the super rich for its high tax rates and stiff regulations, has seen an exodus of notable tech names during the pandemic as companies look to cut costs and prepare for a future of distributed work. Musk has been among the loudest critics this year, comparing the state to a championship sports team that’s become complacent and developed a “winning-for-too-long problem.”
In May, as businesses across California were forced to remain closed because of the pandemic, Musk tweeted that he was moving Tesla’s headquarters and future development from California to Texas and Nevada.
Getting out of California, with the highest income tax in the country, and into Texas, which has no state income tax, could save Musk billions of dollars based on his compensation package awarded in 2018.