Elon Musk says he has moved to Texas, calls California overly ‘complacent’

By Andrew J. Hawkins

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has joined one-fifth of Americans who have done a “pandemic move.” After spending most of his life in California, Musk has relocated to Texas.

The Tesla CEO let that news slip during an interview for The Wall Street Journal’s annual CEO Council summit. He cited the construction of a new Tesla factory outside Austin, as well as Space X’s planned launch site near the South Texas village of Boca Chica, as a factor in his move. CNBC reported last week that Musk was considering relocating to Texas.

He also criticized California’s economic environment as another reason. “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.”

Musk argued that Silicon Valley, home to some of the largest and most influential companies in the world, was declining in relevance.

It seems that leaving California has been on Musk’s mind for a while now. On May 1st, he tweeted, “I will own no home.” Later, it was reported that he sold all four of his homes in California for a combined $62.5 million.

It’s not just about being closer to his companies’ various projects in Texas. Musk also stands to save a lot of money on income taxes by moving to the Lone Star State. The billionaire CEO is slated to earn more than $50 billion in stock options, and he would have to pay income taxes on the profits when he exercises them if he remained in California. Texas, however, has no personal income tax.

Musk recently surpassed Bill Gates as the second richest man in the world. His net worth now sits at around $128 billion, after increasing by $100 billion this year. He gained another $10 billion on December 8th, as Tesla’s stock shot up with the news that the company planned to do its second $5 billion capital raise in the past three months. He is now about $80 billion shy of catching up to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.