California, like a winning sports team that “has been winning for a long time,” has taken innovators for granted, Musk said, adding, “You have a forest of redwoods and the little trees can’t grow.”
Musk made the comments in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Tuesday. In the interview, Musk revealed that he personally had moved to Texas after growing frustrated with the Golden State.
While he is keeping Tesla and SpaceX in the state for now, he pointed out the dwindling of California’s corporate residents.
“So, there used to be over a dozen car plants in California. And California used to be the center of aerospace manufacturing. My companies are the last two left,” Musk said. Tesla “is the last car company still manufacturing in California” and SpaceX is “the last aerospace company still doing significant manufacturing” in the state.
Musk’s comments capture broader trends in California that have been bubbling under the surface for years but have only accelerated this year.
Once a reliable hub for tech startups and dynamic aerospace industries, the state has seen a wave of companies and CEOs in recent years leaving the Golden State for greener pastures.
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Hewlett Packard Enterprise disclosed in an SEC filing last week that it was leaving California for the Lone Star State. And last month, tech entrepreneur Joe Lonsdale, who co-founded software company Palantir Technologies, told “Varney & Co.” that he moved his venture capital firm 8VC to Texas from California because of the state’s affordability and “dynamic economy.”
Joe Vranich, a relocation specialist who was once based in California but now resides in Pennsylvania, released a report last year titled: “It’s time for Companies to Leave California’s Toxic Business Climate.” The 623-page report concluded that the state’s less than favorable business environment caused up to 13,000 “disinvestment events” from 2008 to 2016.
In early October, Bill Maher, the liberal host of “Real Time,” slammed Democratic control of California as he acknowledged the reality of a corporate exodus: “California businesses are leaving the state in droves. In just 2018 and '19, which were economic boom years, 765 commercial facilities left, 13,000 between 2009 and 2016.”
He continued: “Look, I came out here in 1983. I found paradise. I love California. I do. I don’t want to leave, but I feel like I’m living in Italy in the '70s or something. Super high taxes, potholes in the road, fires. I don’t know what I’m getting for my super-high taxes.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office and the California Chamber of Commerce did not respond to FOX Business' request for comment.