Elon Musk’s announcement earlier this month that Tesla is moving its headquarters out of Palo Alto, California to Austin, Texas reportedly came as a surprise to his own staff, according to one California state official.
“Elon didn’t even tell his team,” Dee Dee Myers, California governor Gavin Newsom’s economy czar, said when asked if the state had been informed in advance of Musk’s plans, according to Bloomberg.
“We later talked to the leadership in his offices in California, who did not know until he made that announcement,” she said on a conference call with press.
Myers, the head of California’s office of business and economic development, added that Tesla has made an “enormous investment” in California, where the company was founded and still has a sprawling factory in Fremont.
At the time of his surprise announcement, Musk said that despite the headquarters move, Tesla would continue to expand operations at its Fremont plant by as much as 50 percent.
“I don’t think anybody knows exactly what it means that he’s moving his headquarters,” Myers said on the call.
“From the perspective of California, they’re not going anywhere.”
Tesla has yet to officially communicate to investors and regulators that its headquarters is leaving Palo Alto.
Representatives for Tesla did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.
But earlier this month, during a shareholder meeting, Musk — who himself left Los Angeles to move to the Austin area last year — announced the shakeup, citing rising housing costs and other barriers to corporate expansion.
California imposes some of the highest personal income taxes in the country.
The ultra-billionaire has a slew of Tesla stock options set to expire this year that he’s expected to liquidate, potentially netting him more than $20 billion, share price depending.
Beyond his personal wealth, Musk has repeatedly clashed with California lawmakers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
His announcement of the HQ move came a year after he first threatened to move Tesla to Texas or Nevada amid a fight with state health officials over COVID-19 restrictions.
The company was told it couldn’t reopen its factory last year when coronavirus shutdown measures were still in effect.
“Frankly this is the final straw,” Musk said on Twitter at the time. “Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependent on how Tesla is treated in the future.”
Other major technology companies, including Oracle and Hewlett Packard, also left California for Texas last year.
State officials have been courting companies to make the move, dangling big-time tax breaks to put new facilities in the state through the Texas Economic Development Act.
Austin, with its relatively low cost of living and home to a strong university as well as popular events like South by Southwest, has been a hot spot for tech companies and their workers.
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