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Elon Musk Called Out After Announcing He's Moving Tesla's Headquarters To Texas

Elon Musk Called Out After Announcing He's Moving Tesla's Headquarters To Texas
Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Elon Musk was met with backlash on social media after officially announcing he was moving his Tesla headquarters from Silicon Valley to Austin, Texas.

Last year, Musk gave no timeline after mentioning his plan to move from California to Texas.

The early investor and CEO of the electric vehicle and clean energy company—who is also the CEO and co-founder of SpaceX—said on Thursday during a shareholders' meeting:

"I'm excited to announce that we're moving our headquarters to Austin, Texas."

The announcement came after Texas Governor Greg Abbott claimed last month Musk "frequently" talks to him and he supports the Lone Star State's ultra-conservative, misogynist social policies.

One of those policies, enacted last month, is the controversial "heartbeat bill," which would ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy well before women become aware they are expecting.

The restrictive ban also allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone else helping women get abortions.

Last month, the Texas Governor told CNBC's Squawk Box the state's conservative pro-forced birth policies were not a deterrent for business but "in fact, it is accelerating the process of businesses coming to Texas."

In response to Abbot's boasting about his alleged interaction with Musk, the Tesla CEO–who remains mostly ambivalent when it comes to politics–countered:

"In general, I believe government should rarely impose its will upon the people, and, when doing so, should aspire to maximize their cumulative happiness. That said, I would prefer to stay out of politics."

Former Tesla fans had announcements of their own in response to Musk's change of address after the U.S. Supreme Court passed on halting the forced-pregnancy bill.

Tesla is currently headquartered in Palo Alto, California but Musk has already established a Tesla Gigafactory and a facility for Starlink—a satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX–in Austin.

Citing the relocation as an economic decision, Musk said of Tesla's Fremont factory:

"To be clear we will be continuing to expand our activities in California."
"It's tough for people to afford houses, and people have to come in from far away... There's a limit to how big you can scale in the Bay Area."

The business magnate previously clashed with San Francisco Bay Area health authorities imposing shelter-in-place that would have shut down Tesla's Fremont plant.

While Thursday's announcement drew cheers from shareholders attending the annual meeting, it brought to light some of the key issues still affecting the Bay Area.

Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the business advocacy group Bay Area Council said:

"Mr. Musk's announcement highlights yet again the urgency for California to address our housing affordability crisis and the many other challenges that make it so difficult for companies to grow here."

The announcement came after Musk said last week Tesla delivered 241,300 electric vehicles in the third quarter of the year, despite the shortage of computer chips as a result of the global supply-chain disruptions due to the pandemic.

According to data provider FactSet, Tesla's sales from July through September exceeded Wall Street estimates of 227,000 sales worldwide.