Elon Musk is the latest Californian to flee the state’s high taxes and onerous business regulations.
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO confirmed the long-hinted-at move Tuesday at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council summit, also citing complacency throughout Silicon Valley.
“If a team has been winning for too long, they do tend to get a little complacent, a little entitled and then they don’t win the championship anymore. California has been winning for too long,” he said.
After emphasizing that his companies still do much business in California locations, Mr. Musk said he himself no longer does.
“For myself, yes I have moved to Texas,” he said.
A frequent critic of California’s culture of government regulation and bureaucracy, Mr. Musk said the state has become beholden to a few massive technology firms thereby limited new startup creation.
“You have a forest of redwoods and the little trees can’t grow,” he said, adding that the state should “just get out of the way” of innovators.
Still, he’s not out of California completely, though he noted his business may be the ones left to turn out the lights.
“First of all, Tesla and SpaceX obviously have massive operations in California … Tesla is the last car company still manufacturing cars in California. SpaceX is the last aerospace company still doing significant manufacturing in California.”
“There used to be over a dozen car plants in California. And California used to be the center of aerospace manufacturing,” he continued. “My companies are the last two left.”
Texas is considered especially attractive to fleeing Californians because the state has no income tax. And in Mr. Musk’s case, his operations are under way there already.
Earlier this year, Tesla announced that it would build a $1 billion assembly plant near Austin, its first outside Silicon Valley. SpaceX also has operations in Texas.
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