Newsom, speaking at a bill-signing ceremony in Oakland, thanked Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk for his investments in California, where the company was born and opened its first factory.
The governor called Musk “one of the world’s great innovators and entrepreneurs — I mean what an extraordinary, extraordinary talent.” He also welcomed Musk’s comments, made Thursday during Tesla’s annual shareholders meeting, that the company would expand its operations in California, even as it shifted its headquarters to Austin.
But Newsom, a prominent Democrat who often contrasts his state’s actions with Republican-led Texas, said California’s business climate remains strong, particularly for clean-energy companies. He boasted that the state leads the nation in factory jobs, venture-capital investments and new companies going public.
And he said California deserved some of the credit for Tesla’s success, giving the company “hundreds of millions of dollars” in tax breaks and adopting policies to encourage electric cars. California has for years required automakers to sell zero-emission vehicles in the state or buy credits from companies that do, and it remains the country’s largest EV market.
“Our regulatory environment helped create that company and grow that company,” Newsom said. “I have reverence and deep respect for that individual. But I also have deep reverence and respect for this state, and what we’ve done.”
Newsom was asked whether a tweet sent last year from state lawmaker Lorena Gonzalez in which she tweeted Musk’s name along with an expletive was appropriate and contributed to his decision to move to Texas. Musk tweeted “exactly” on Friday when the past comments were pointed out in a blog about the move.
“I receive tweets like that probably on an hourly basis and I’m staying here,” Newsom said.