Responding to Open Letter on Tesla Gigafactory

An “open letter” penned this week by the California Budget Project and other so-called “budget watchdogs” from states competing to secure the proposed Tesla Gigafactory misses the mark. The letter suggests that California and the other states are in a “race to the bottom.” We couldn’t disagree more.

California is in an important race to become a national, if not global hub, for an exciting new generation of advanced automobile manufacturing and energy storage. The latter aspect hasn’t received much attention, but will have huge economic impacts across many other industries and for the state. You don’t accomplish that without taking some reasonable degree of risk or making an investment in your future. And you don’t accomplish that by failing to compete with others who are happy to open their doors to an innovative company like Tesla.

We applaud Gov. Jerry Brown and his Administration for taking an active role in the negotiations, and for putting California squarely in the running after Tesla indicated early on that the Golden State wasn’t even on its initial list of potential sites. This is just the kind of role that government can and should play in advocating for the state and facilitating new and emerging industries. That Tesla and its products align with the state’s objectives on climate and energy makes this a strategic priority for California.

Securing Tesla will further demonstrate that California is back in business and is serious about creating good-paying middle-class jobs. In addition to the 6,500 jobs the Gigafactory will generate, the facility will support a vast ecosystem of suppliers and others that employ thousands more workers. Such manufacturing facilities are highly prized for exactly the jobs and economic spillover effect they create.

The long-term strategic, economic and environmental benefits to California of winning Tesla’s Gigafactory will put us in a race to the top.

Download the letter.


Jim Wunderman
President and CEO

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