By Mina Kim and Wendi Jonassen
California wants a piece of Tesla Motor’s new “Gigafactory,” or rather the 6,500 jobs the lithium-ion battery factory is expected to create. A bipartisan pair of state senators are working together to sponsor “urgency” legislation to create the right mix of incentives to keep the Palo Alto-based electric car company’s expansion in the Golden State. The bill, SB1309, could include tax incentives, equipment credits and an expedited review under the California Environmental Quality Act.
Sen. Ted Gaines (R-Roseville) and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) hope these incentives will give California a competitive advantage over four other states: New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Texas.
“The sad story is that we create it here, and then it often moves offshore or to another state,” Gaines says. “Texas has been famous for picking businesses out of California and I think we ought to fight.”
Tesla’s 4-year-old Fremont car factory has created about 5,000 local jobs.
“The history of Tesla is right here in California,” Gaines says. “With the Gigafactory we are talking about another 6,500 jobs, middles class jobs, in a state that has an unemployment rate of a million and a half people.”
The Los Angeles Times reports that Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has also been in talks with the governor’s office and is concerned that permit delays could prevent the factory from being built quickly in California. In a call with investors on Tuesday, Musk described California’s approval process as “complex and lengthy,” Reuters reports.
Listen to KQED’s Mina Kim interview Sen. Ted Gaines below: