Texas could soon have a billionaire whose wealth would put him at the top of the state hierarchy of rich people.
Earlier this year, billionaire Elon Musk had questioned the prospect of moving his Tesla electric vehicle maker’s headquarters to Texas. Now he’s allegedly toying with the idea of moving to Texas.
Several unnamed “close friends and associates” tell CNBC that Musk plans to move from California to Texas. No word on where Musk might end up in the Lone Star State, but it’s safe to say that Austin would be a prime contender due to his strong ties to the city.
Musk already spends a lot of time in Austin, where Tesla is building a $ 1.1 billion auto manufacturing plant and where its tunnel startup Boring Co. recently started operations. Meanwhile, Musk’s SpaceX aerospace company maintains a launch facility on the Texas Gulf Coast.
On December 7th, Forbes estimated Musk’s net worth at around $ 140 billion, making it the 3rd richest person in the world. If he moved to Texas, he’d be the richest resident in the state, faring from Fort Worth Walmart heiress Alice Walton, whose net worth was estimated at nearly $ 69 billion at the same time.
“California, often condemned by the super-rich for its high tax rates and strict regulations, saw an exodus of big-name tech names during the pandemic as companies seek to cut costs and prepare for a future of distributed work,” CNBC said. “Musk was one of the loudest critics this year, comparing the state to a championship sports team that got complacent and developed a problem where you won too long.”
Texas is considered more business-friendly than California, and for the likes of Musk, is an oasis of state income taxes.
In May, Musk tweeted that he intended to relocate Tesla’s headquarters and future development from California to Texas and Nevada in response to a local pandemic affecting Tesla’s Factor in Fremont, California. Tesla’s headquarters are initially in Northern California, but the company announced in July that it would build a gigafactory just outside Austin to produce its Cybertruck pickup and Model Y SUV.
Around the time of the Gigafactory announcement, Texas governor Greg Abbott said on CNBC’s Squawk Box that Musk had told him he had obtained a Texan driver’s license and was now a “good faith Texan.”
Another sign of Musk’s potential move to the Lone Star State, the eccentric entrepreneur recently launched four properties in Southern California, according to Bloomberg news service. In May, Musk explained his promise to sell almost all of his physical possessions, including his homes, in an interview with podcaster Joe Rogan, who recently fled southern California to Austin himself.