After Tesla and SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk’s recent announcement that he would be looking at either Nevada or Texas to move his Tesla manufacturing plant, Hidalgo County judge Richard Cortez, of Precious fame, seized at the opportunity to publicly proclaim that Hidalgo would be more than willing to welcome Tesla down to the Rio Grande Valley, which would be, undeniably, a great thing.
From Hidalgo County’s Twitter account:
— Hidalgo County (@HidalgoCounty) May 11, 2020
The news of Tesla’s potential departure from California stems from Musk’s recent dispute with Alameda County’s Health Care Services Agency and Public Health Department, specifically, Erica Pan, the interim county health officer.
Last month, California Governer Gavin Newsom announced plans to re-open California in phases beginning the first week of May after months of COVID-19 lockdown orders. On May 4th, the California Governor’s office released details of Stage 2 of reponining the California economy, which included re-opening manufacturing and logistics businesses as early as last Friday. However, the order also gave local authorities superseding powers, stating that “while the state will be moving from Stage 1 to Stage 2, counties can choose to continue more restrictive measures in place based on their local conditions.”
In a virtual town hall held on the same Friday that Tesla’s Fremont, California plant had expected to re-open, Pan stated that Tesla had “not (been) given the green light” from county officials to re-open, prompting Musk to take to claim that she was “unelected and ignorant” and file a lawsuit against Alameda County in federal court seeking an injunction against the counties shelter in place order.
Here is the complaint filed in the Northern District of California:
Shortly after Hidalgo County posted their letter on Twitter, Musk responded with:
Note is much appreciated
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2020
Overall, this is an outstanding opportunity for the Valley and our officials would be idiotic if they didn’t do everything they possibly could to capitalize on this now.
According to a study conducting by IHSMarkit, a London-based information and research services conglomerate, Tesla’s economic impact in California has been profound, to say the least as it, directly and indirectly, provided a $5.5 billion state economic impact and responsible for $5.5 billion in sales activity across California, $1.8 billion of it from their employees wages alone. Locally, Tesla was responsible for creating approximately 15,000 jobs in the surrounding area of Alameda County as well as 50,000 jobs state-wide.
As we’ve written in the previously, the Valley is home to the highest unemployment rates and the highest rates of people working for minimum wage in the state; meaning most people in the Valley are either unemployed or working low-skill jobs for little pay. Doing the math, bringing those jobs to the Valley would directly inject our local economy with approximately $540 million in yearly sales activity in wages alone.
Granted, it’s a long shot that Musk would actually make good on his “interest,” but at least he knows Hidalgo County actually exists.