INTERNATIONAL NEWS - Elon Musk can comfortably call himself the world's second-richest person amid a surge in the stock of his electric car maker Tesla, and now he has added another title: Texan.
The norm-shattering entrepreneur announced on Tuesday he had left California after a heated squabble earlier this year with local authorities, who ordered one of his auto factories closed to stop the spread of Covid-19.
"Yes, I have moved to Texas," he told a conference organized by The Wall Street Journal.
Musk justified the move by saying he needed to be closer to two of his biggest projects: the development of rockets by his company SpaceX in the southern part of the state, and construction of a Tesla automobile plant near state capital Austin.
Texas also offers a lower cost of living and no state income tax, both of which may appeal to South Africa-born Musk, 49, who overtook Bill Gates to become the world's second-wealthiest person last month as Tesla stock reached ever-higher heights.
The high-end electric auto maker's share price closed at a record high of $649.88 on Tuesday after the company said it would sell $5 billion in shares. Bloomberg estimates Musk is worth about $155 billion.
As far as California, Musk described the state as "great," but likened it to an overconfident sports team.
"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," Musk said. "California has been winning for a long time... and they are taking it for granted."
California is the most populous and economically productive of the US states, and also imposes a higher tax burden on wealthy individuals like Musk.
As the coronavirus swept the United States earlier this year, Musk engaged in a public spat with local officials over business closure orders that temporarily shuttered a Tesla factory in northern California, and vowed to move his headquarters and future projects to Texas or Nevada.