It appears that Austin, Texas has started feeling a little bit of Tesla FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), with Travis County recently approving tax breaks that the electric car maker requested. The tax breaks are worth a minimum of about $14 million over 10 years, and will be awarded to Tesla provided that the company invests $1.1 billion into the state.
The terms of the deal indicate that Tesla could receive higher tax incentives if the company invests more than $1.1 billion in its upcoming facility, or if the agreement is eventually extended for an additional decade. The plant, which is widely believed to be the Cybertruck Gigafactory, is expected to employ 5,000 people. According to the company, the average annual salary for workers at the plant will be $47,147, while the median salary would be $68,303.
Commissioner Margaret Gómez was pushing for a week’s delay to allow for more time to review the agreement with Tesla. However, four of the county’s other commissioners opted for an immediate vote, citing concerns that Tesla may end up building the Cybertruck Gigafactory elsewhere, as noted in a report from The Statesman. Commissioner Gómez ultimately abstained, while the other four approved the incentives.
Rohan Patel, a Tesla executive who was present in the commission’s virtual meeting, did not disclose any specific information about Tesla’s deals with other states. That being said, he did state that Tesla just had a call “with a governor of another state and mayor of another town to go through a whole bunch of things similar to what we have gone through now.” This call seemed to refer to a conference with Tesla executives that Tulsa, Oklahoma officials were scheduled to hold this Monday.
In response to the Tesla executive’s statement, Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion, whose district covers the possible site for Tesla’s upcoming factory, noted that the risk of losing the deal was simply too significant. “We are talking about a transformational project that will address poverty and opportunity in that area for generations,” he said.
Similar to previous meetings in Austin, Texas, the project received both support and criticism from local entities. David Stewart, chairman of the Austin Regional Manufacturers Association, noted that the Tesla facility will be a “huge opportunity for a wide range of people and businesses in the Austin area.” “I want this opportunity for our city, and I hope you make this investment in our city,” he said.
On the other hand, Jeremy Hendricks, a representative of the Southwest Laborers’ District Council, argued that the vote should be delayed for a week since the Tesla deal is all but secured. “I guarantee you Tesla wants to come here, so the agreement shouldn’t be rushed at the expense of ensuring it’s as well-negotiated as possible,” Hendricks said.