Calif. lawmaker reacts to Tesla selection of Nevada for battery plant

Tesla Motors has selected Nevada for a massive, $5 billion factory that it will build to pump out batteries for a new generation of electric cars.

A person familiar with Tesla's plans said Wednesday that Nevada beat out four other states which were vying for the project.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made, said work soon will resume on a site outside Reno.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval's office said only that the governor will make a "major economic development announcement" Thursday afternoon. A Tesla spokesman says company representatives will be at the Capitol for the announcement.

The other finalist states were California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.

State Senator Ted Gaines. R-Roseville, who was pushing for Tesla to set up shop in Roseville, issued a statement shortly after the Tesla decision was announced. In it, Gaines said, "I'm devastated for the 6,500 families who won't have the chance at these jobs unless they move to Nevada. Tesla is a California-born company that the state has invested heavily in and we want it to succeed. It makes complete sense for it to expand right here, close to its headquarters, yet they are headed out of state."

Gaines went on to insist the the Tesla decision is a microcosm of a larger problem in regards to operating a business in California.

"It's a clear indictment of our business climate that Nevada is pulling this huge investment away from its natural home. I'm not sure there could be a stronger signal to legislators about how hard they have made it to operate here," Gaines said.

Sacramento Business Journal's Allen Young said the Tesla decision could help the movement to change California's regulatory environment, but it won't be easy.

"Some people have wondered if California ever had a real chance," Young said. "Tesla has said that it did, but there's a well known difficult tax and regulatory environment here."

Regardless of what regulatory changes, if any, come at the state level, one silver lining in Tesla's move to Nevada is the potential upside for the Sacramento region as the biggest metro area between the company's Bay Area headquarters and its new factory.

"Lots of manufacturing jobs could come here in the form of logistics or packaging, things that would support the Tesla factory 48 as well as white collar jobs in accounting or marketing," Young said.


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