Thursday, July 23, 2020

Elon Musk to Austin could get fun

"But You, O God, shall bring them down to the pit of destruction;
Bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days;
But I will trust in You."
Psalm 55:23

So it's official:
Austin will soon be home to a $1.1 billion Gigafactory, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk announced during the company's quarterly earnings update on Wednesday.

"We're going to make it a factory that's going to be stunning," he told investors, adding that construction is "already underway."

As proposed, the factory will be located on a 2,000-acre site in Southeast Travis County. It will provide at least 5,000 jobs and produce the Cybertruck pickup and the Model Y, a midsize SUV.

Both Del Valle ISD and Travis County offered Tesla tax rebates to build the factory in Austin.
First, allow us to state the obvious: As a resident of both Travis County and Del Valle ISD, we completely oppose giving special treatment to Tesla. Broad base, low rates, and all that. That we've been busy with other things, and had higher priorities recently, should not be mistaken for assent.

However...this is a deal that could blow up in the faces of a whole bunch of politicians who deserve it.

It's not a secret that Musk doesn't suffer petty tyrants well.  Unfortunately for Musk, that's what most of our state and local elected officials actually are in reality.  Eventually, Elon Musk is going to figure out that reality.  When that happens, it will be glorious.

About a month ago, following the Peter Rex/WSJ op-ed, we wrote a long post about why CEO's from other locations should no longer buy they company line about either Austin or Texas.  In terms of substance, the points we made to Peter Rex are the same as the points we'd make to Elon Musk.  But the TL,DR version is that both of them have fallen for a company line about both Austin and Texas that's no longer relevant.  Dazed and Confused was three decades ago.

Of course, that's before we get to the fact that Tesla's business model remains illegal in the state of Texas.

The whole thing's gonna be a shitshow.

Bottom Line: Obviously, this is a terrible deal for taxpayers.  We get that.  But taxpayers get hosed all the time (especially in this town).  In terms of entertainment value, however, the gloriousness of the coming debacle could easily make this very, very, worth it.

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