A few months ago, Elon Musk proclaimed that he was selling all of his homes. Now we know that's because he's moved to Texas. Ostensibly, it's to be closer to SpaceX's Starship facility, as well as Tesla's Gigafactory, which is being built in Austin, right now. However, by leaving California, Musk also saves big on taxes because Texas has no personal income tax. California has one of the highest rates of state income tax on its richest resident. Before his move to the Lone Star state, Musk lived in Los Angeles for 20 years. SpaceX's headquarters are in the L.A. suburb of Hawthorne, and Tesla is headquartered in Palo Alto and Fremont in the Bay Area.
Musk also criticized California and said the Golden State has become complacent with its status as the largest economy in the United States and the fifth-largest economy in the world. This made California less desirable to the company. He said:
"If a team has been winning for too long they do tend to get a little complacent, a little entitled, and then they don't win the championship anymore. California's been winning for a long time. And I think they're taking them for granted a little bit."
Musk also moved his personal foundation from California to Texas. Musk isn't the first tech entrepreneur to leave California – which has some of the highest housing costs in the country – for cheaper places. The pandemic has forced many people into work from home situations, leading them to conclude that they'd be better off living someplace more affordable.
Musk has been going back and forth between Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, and Boca Chica, Texas on his private Gulfstream G650 jet. He also makes frequent trips to China and Germany. SpaceX tests its rocket engines in McGregor, Texas. The company also has its enormous Starship spacecraft facility in Boca Chica, Texas. Tesla opened a factory in Shanghai last year and is building one in Berlin, to expand its global reach.
Musk can afford to buy a home in every place that Tesla and SpaceX have offices. Tesla's stock has been on an absolute tear this year, boosting his net worth from $23 billion in December 2019 to $150 billion in December 2020. He is officially the second-wealthiest person on the planet, behind Jeff Bezos.
When California shutdown orders closed Musk's Tesla factory in Fremont, he defied the health department's orders, calling them fascist, and continued to operate his plant. He filed a lawsuit against Alameda County in northern California and threatened to move Tesla to Nevada or Texas. Ironically, Musk tested positive for COVID-19 last month, per his revelation on Twitter.
Musk cannot totally break with California, considering he has thousands of employees working for him in the state as well as five teenage sons with his ex-wife Justine Musk. His ex and sons live in California and they share custody.