Elon Musk said Tuesday that while SpaceX and Tesla have major activities in California today, he personally moved to Texas.
“If a team has won too long, it gets a little complacent, a little justified, and then doesn’t win the championship. California has won too long,” Musk told the Wall Street Journal CEO Council Summit, repeating an analogy that he has used it many times to express his displeasure with the regulatory environment in California.
Musk, who clashed with regulators in Fremont, California this year, and Brandenburg, Germany this week, sees the government as a “monopoly that cannot go bankrupt”. He also said “regulations are immortal” and that the government should think more about removing them rather than just creating new rules.
Like Musk, President Donald Trump promoted the idea of reducing regulation with an ordinance he signed in 2017 that instructed federal agencies to repeal two existing regulations for each new one they introduced.
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO said what the government should do for companies is “just get out of the way.”
When asked directly whether he had moved from California, Musk gave a long preface to his answer.
“First, Tesla and SpaceX have apparently massive operations in California. In fact, it’s worth noting that Tesla is the last automotive company to make cars in California. SpaceX is the last aerospace company to have significant manufacturing facilities in California,” said he “So. California used to have over a dozen car factories. And California used to be the center of the aerospace industry! My companies are the last two left … That’s a very important point.”
Then he confirmed, “I moved to Texas for myself.”
Musk also noted that while California is great in some ways, he feels that Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area have an “oversized impact on the world,” likely due to the coronavirus pandemic that some investors have has driven, decreased, and forced government and corporate executives to figure out how to manage a remote workforce.
However, Musk noted, “Social media is still very much centered in Silicon Valley. We have to worry about virus viruses. You know, just memes that travel social media very quickly and may or may not be correct.” He qualified this with a nod to freedom of speech and said, “We want to promote healthy dialogue. If there is someone who wants to close one side or the other of a debate, we should oppose it.”
CNBC reported last week that Musk told friends he was moving to Texas and was already spending time there.
Musk, the second richest person in the world behind Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, spends most of his time in Texas between Austin, where Tesla and its tunnel start-up Boring Co. operate, and a coastal village called Boca Chica, which is home to a SpaceX Facility is located. SpaceX went live in Texas in 2003.
The move makes Musk part of a broader tech exodus from Silicon Valley that sees many executives and venture capitalists moving to Texas. It could also save Musk billions of dollars in taxes. The CEO’s compensation package, approved by Tesla’s board of directors and shareholders in 2018, means that he will receive significant stock awards due to the increase in Tesla’s market capitalization and the achievement of financial targets.