Elon Musk, founder of vehicle manufacturer Tesla and aerospace company SpaceX, has resumed production at Tesla’s only United States-based factory in California, going against the state’s lockdown regulations. He has said that if anyone were to be arrested, it should be him.
Musk, who has a history of being outspoken on Twitter, threatened at the end of April to move production from California to Texas or Nevada where lockdown regulations are less strict.
After the threat to relocate, on Saturday, May 9, officials from Texas, Georgia, Utah, Oklahoma and Nevada have all reached out to Musk on Twitter, encouraging him to relocate to their state. California has the highest income tax rate in the country. Both Texas and Nevada have no income tax.
Health officials in the California county where Tesla production is based said late on Monday that they were aware the company was operating beyond what was permitted during lockdown and had issued them a warning not to operate without an officially approved plan. The statement also added that it had hoped Tesla would “comply without further enforcement measures.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday said he had spoken to Musk several days prior. “I have not only known that company but I have known its founder for many, many years,” Newsom said in his daily coronavirus press briefing. “I have great reverence for their technology, for their innovative spirit, for their leadership.”
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has also since encouraged California to do whatever necessary to resume business for the electric car manufacturer if it wished to keep Tesla in its state.
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