Elon Musk has swapped the Golden State for the Lone Star State. The second-richest person in the world said he has relocated to Texas from California to be closer to the new Tesla plant and Space X’s planned launch site, though there were likely more reasons behind the move.
The billionaire revealed his change of address during an interview for The Wall Street Journal’s annual CEO Council summit, reports The Verge. “The two biggest things that I got going on right now are the Starship development in south Texas,” he told Matt Murray, the WSJ’s Editor in Chief. “And then the big new US factory for Tesla.”
“It wasn’t necessarily a great use of my time here [in California].”
While being closer to the new Tesla factory outside of Austin and Space X’s launch site near the village of Boca Chica is doubtlessly important to Musk, the CEO won’t be shedding any tears over leaving California.
“If a team is winning for too long, they tend to get complacent,” Musk said. “California has been winning for a long time, and I think they’re taking it for granted.”
Moving has been a long time coming. Musk tweeted, “I will own no home” on May 1 and later sold all four of his California homes for a combined $62.5 million.
Texas also offers financial incentives for Musk. Unlike California, which has some of the highest state tax rates in the US, Texas has no personal tax income. That’s an enticing prospect for someone set to earn $50 billion in stock options; Musk would have to pay income tax on the profits when he exercises them if he stayed in California.
With Tesla’s recent acceptance into the S&P 500, which measures the stock performance of 500 large companies listed on the US stock exchanges, its shares have jumped 670 percent this year. As Musk owns 20 percent of the EV giant, his fortune has increased by $129 billion to $157 billion, putting him behind only Jeff Bezos ($186 billion) on Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.
Another factor that could have influenced Musk is California’s tighter Covid restrictions. Back in April, Musk said the lockdown is “fascist” and “forcibly imprisoning people in their homes,” lambasting the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order. He also praised Texas for reopening businesses.