EVLN: Austin-TX Cybertruck gigafactory> (eyed/considered)

Proposed tax breaks for Tesla ‘gigafactory’ draw mixed reaction
Jun 26, 2020  Shonda Novak  Austin American-Statesman




The prospect of offering California-based electric vehicle maker Tesla tens
of millions of dollars in local tax breaks to build a $1 billion factory in
Travis County is either a shrewd investment that will be a game changer for
the region’s economy or a misguided giveaway to a rich corporation run by a

Those were the dueling narratives that emerged during two public hearings,
both held remotely — one by the Travis County Commissioners Court last
Tuesday, and the other by the Del Valle school board Thursday evening.

Neither jurisdiction has voted on an incentive package. The item is on the
Commissioners Court agenda for this Tuesday, but commissioners might not
take a vote.

“It will depend if Tesla and the county staff have come to an agreement on
their negotiations and if the court wants to take action,” county spokesman
Hector Nieto said Friday.

The Del Valle school district could grant $50 million in property tax breaks
for Tesla over 10 years. Travis County is considering a package that would
give about $14.7 million in property tax rebates over 10 years.

Officials in both jurisdictions said Tesla’s factory ultimately would net an
economic gain — regardless of the amount allowed for the tax breaks — and
said that the electric vehicle maker would pay its full property tax freight
after the 10 years are up.

Del Valle administrators and Tesla executives told trustees that the
high-tech manufacturing plant would bring thousands of jobs — Tesla says
5,000 over time — and a host of academic opportunities, job-training and
career-building programs for students in the school district.

Some residents said during the hearings this week that the jobs are
much-needed and would spur economic development in a part of eastern Travis
County that is underserved and has a large minority population.

Related content
Proposed Tesla factory, incentives, draw mixed reaction
June 23, 2020

Tesla could get $50M in tax breaks to choose Travis County site
June 18, 2020

“The tax incentives would be outweighed by the development that would
occur,” said one Del Valle resident, speaking via Zoom during the school
board’s virtual hearing.

Jonathan Clark, another area resident who spoke, said Del Valle should
welcome the opportunity to attract an innovative company like Tesla. “It
would be insane, crazy and stupid to not make this deal happen,” he said.

But an opponent of the proposed tax breaks said that asking any school
district during the coronavirus pandemic to “hand over millions” to the
corporate giant “is simply ridiculous.”

Tesla has a stock market value of more than $180 billion and employs about
48,000 workers worldwide. It’s headed by high-profile billionaire Elon Musk.

Other Del Valle residents said the tax breaks would come “at the expense of
children’s education” and would impose a heavy burden on the community at a
time when it has other pressing needs.

If Tesla chooses the Austin area for the plant, which the corporation calls
a “gigafactory,” it would be built on 2,100 acres at Texas 130 and Harold
Green Road, a sand and gravel mining site with a concrete plant owned and
operated by Martin Marietta. The Martin Marietta plant would be relocated on
the site to make way for the factory.

Tesla also is considering Tulsa, Okla., as a possible location, as well as
other places in Texas. But Tesla officials said the Travis County site “has
risen to the top of our search,” although no land has been purchased in any
location under consideration.

Tesla has said that about 65% of the factory’s estimated 5,000 jobs would be
unskilled labor that would not require college degrees. The plant would
manufacture Tesla’s future Cybertruck, an electric pickup, and the Model Y

The public comments at the Del Valle meeting, both for and against the
incentives, mirrored those from residents who spoke at Tuesday’s Travis
County Commissioners Court meeting. Some residents said they favored the
incentives, while others said Tesla has failed to live up to its agreements
in other states and has a poor corporate record of violating health, safety
and labor laws.

Tesla officials disputed those contentions.

Rohan Patel, the company’s senior global director of public policy and
business development, said audited documents in Nevada show that the company
has “blown way past” projected job and investment numbers at its gigafactory
there, growing to 13,000 jobs — well over the projected 6,000 workers.Tesla
also has exceeded its job projections at its factory in Fremont, Calif., he
said, and topped its initially projected level of investment in Buffalo,

At Thursday’s meeting, Tesla officials enumerated the benefits that would
flow to the county, school district and area from its proposed 4.5
million-square-foot factory, including internships, apprenticeships, and
job-training and workforce development programs in robotics and automation.

In addition to the 5,000 jobs the factory is expected to create, the plant
would have larger economic development ripple effects throughout the region,
Tesla officials and local economists have said.

Tesla has said entry-level pay would start at $35,000 a year. The average
annual wage would be $47,147, and the median annual salary would be $68,303.
The jobs would have full benefits, and Patel said the company plans to hire
predominantly local, full-time workers.

Some residents pointed out Tesla’s entry-level and median annual wages
qualify as low-income for the Austin region, under federal guidelines.

Patel said incentives are a prerequisite to make the economics work.

Tesla hopes to start construction of the factory in the third quarter of
this year.

Del Valle Superintendent Annette Tielle told trustees that the district is
“very excited about this opportunity.”

“We want our students to have opportunities, and this is something we know
will take them to high heights,” she said.

School district officials said the tax incentive agreement will be a net
benefit to the district and, over time, will provide more revenue than the
district is currently receiving.

Under this type of incentive deal, a Chapter 313 economic development
agreement, property tax revenue that school districts forgo is substantially
replaced by the state through its school funding formula, according to the
Texas comptroller’s office.

Laura Huffman, president and CEO of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce,
said the plant would provide “jobs at all levels” and would be a
“generational opportunity for students and the district” and the state as a

But local resident Manuel Quinto-Pozos told school board members not to be
swayed by Tesla’s presentations. “Don’t fall for the TV advertisement. Look
at their past actions,” he said.

Quinto-Pozos cited reports that Tesla in California had more injuries and
illnesses from 2014 to 2017 than some other auto plants did, and Tesla’s
were more serious by comparison. He also cited issues at Tesla’s plant in
Reno, Nev., involving workplace safety and chemical spills.

Cyrus Reed, director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, said that
while he shares Tesla’s goals of creating a future “not so constrained by
carbon,” he urged Del Valle trustees to delay a vote on the incentives to
allow more time for community input.

Several representatives with local labor groups said Del Valle should get
assurances from Tesla that it will build its plant with local building and
trade contractors.

“Before you approve a tax cut, work to demand legally binding agreements for
how they should treat their workers,” local resident Alex Murphy said.

“Tesla is promising the world,” he said, “but they have yet to promise that
our students are going to be treated right.”
[© statesman.com]

Tesla Cyberquad: could ATV mean more Tesla electric off-road vehicles
Jun. 22nd 2020 ... Tesla is trying to bring it to the market by 2021 —
meaning that Tesla is developing the electric ATV, now known as the
Cyberquad ... It's the first time that Tesla is developing a smaller vehicle
than a car & an off-road vehicle ...

For EVLN EV-newswire posts view:


Sent from: http://electric-vehicle-discussion-list.413529.n4.nabble.com/
UNSUBSCRIBE: http://www.evdl.org/help/index.html#usub
ARCHIVE: http://www.evdl.org/archive/index.html
INFO: http://lists.evdl.org/listinfo.cgi/ev-evdl.org
Please discuss EV drag racing at NEDRA (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NEDRA)

Reply via email to