Elon Musk may have founded most of his companies in California, but he’s become increasingly critical of the state as a place to do business.
“California used to be the land of opportunity,” Musk told the audience. However it’s turned into “the land of taxes, overregulation and litigation and this is not a good situation.”
Musk became increasingly critical of the state as Tesla ramped up its production facilities. He famously built the first so-called gigafactory in neighboring Nevada, after winning generous tax concessions from that state. He went on to build facilities in Shanghai and near Berlin. But when the time came for a new U.S. factory, Musk opted for Texas.
He boasted that the recently opened Gigafactory near Austin – a building three times the size of the Pentagon – was completed in just 18 months.
“If you had a gun to [California Governor Gavin Newsom’s] head and said ‘we need to start building this factory right now,’ he couldn’t do it,” Musk said. “There are so many regulatory agencies and so many litigators in California that want to stop you from doing anything that even if you’re the governor of the state, you cannot get it done,” he added.
Musk laid the blame for California’s challenges on its political environment.
“It’s a one-party state,” Musk complained, noting that Democrats hold a super-majority in the state legislature and all of the statewide elected offices. The state’s elected officials “will never be responsive except to the people that funded them,” he added.
“Ultimately the people of California have to get fed up and demand change,” Musk added. “There’s got to be an above 0% chance of the Republicans winning in California.”
Of the many companies Musk founded or boosted over the years, most were founded in California, including PayPal (PYPL) - Get PayPal Holdings Inc. Report, SpaceX, the Boring Company, Neuralink and Tesla.