Tesla's Big Move To Texas Doesn't Mean Much

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Thursday that it was moving its headquarters from California to Texas.

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Tesla, which is a company incorporated in the state of Delaware, said on Thursday that it would be relocating its headquarters from California to Texas. This is part of a mini-trend of Californians moving to Texas, which a lot of people want to make into a thing. If only.

One thing cited by those that move and those that write about those that move is the difference in housing costs, with California’s median housing price over $800,000, while in Texas that number is just over $300,000. In Austin, where Tesla is going, that number is $549,000 and climbing.

“It’s tough for people to afford houses, and a lot of people have to come in from far away,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said of California Thursday, in explaining the company headquarters move to Texas.


That is probably true, and it also sounds like an acknowledgment that Tesla underpays its employees; any real capitalist would tell you that houses are more expensive in California because it is simply a more desirable place to live than Texas, because it is.

The truth, anyway, is that Tesla will remain in California for a very long time with its factory in Fremont, and, in fact, expand its presence there, as Elon said Thursday. Where Tesla’s headquarters are have always been not in California, Texas, or anywhere else, but simply where Elon is at any given moment, especially in this era of working from home.

Why make the announcement at all, then? For one thing, I’m sure Elon enjoyed sticking his thumb in the eye of California officials, who he has been beefing with in the pandemic. For another, I’m sure Elon also likes the way the don’t mess with Tesla thing looks.

And the grass is always greener, I guess, though this is not a “blow to California,” as The New York Times says. As Elon said plainly at the annual shareholders’ meeting last night, “We’re not leaving California.” This is a CEO merely announcing where he will be living for the foreseeable future, which he already did anyway.