Who let the watchdogs out?

A coalition* of watchdog** groups is urging Gigafactory contenders to act as a team instead of trying to one-up each other, and to make all negotiations with Tesla visible to the public. Why? Because open dialogue will keep the incentives from escalating, to paraphrase the coalition. Secrecy, on the other hand, will cause a “race to the bottom” and ultimately irresponsible spending. See the implication there? The winner is actually scraping the bottom of the barrel! Tisk tisk.

Tesla wants a $500M dowry before it will seriously consider marriage. That’s outrageous, says the coalition’s open letter to the world. None of the contending states — Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, California — has responded to the letter. That’s no surprise. When rival bisons are locked in a stare-down with each other, they’re not open to a philosophical discussion. Not to mention, violating a confidentiality agreement with Tesla would undoubtedly scare other companies away.

Considering the number of jobs created by this factory, and the probable Pied Piper effect on suppliers, as seen in Fremont, landing the Gigafactory is tantamount to gaining a new city in your state, and boosting your state’s image as a cradle of American ingenuity. Since only one state will win the entire prize and the others won’t even get a $10 gift certificate to Wendy’s, this is no time to expect teamwork.

* Oh brother
** Oh brother

4 thoughts on “Who let the watchdogs out?

  1. Greg LeRoy says:

    Mr. Fahey: Thanks for noting our open letter. If Tesla builds in Reno (where it has already broken ground), don’t you think many Californians from Truckee and other nearby places will get a lot of both the construction and permanent jobs? Tesla will create a lot more supply-chain jobs as well (as will this battery plant). It really is a multi-state economic development opportunity and we’re not done. Greg LeRoy, Good Jobs First

  2. Richard G says:

    Ok, just imagine if the politicians from the five states followed the petition and put pressure on Tesla Motors (denying the $500m incentive and negotiating in public). Then Tesla could surprise them all by saying that none of the five states will get the Gigafactory. In fact, Tesla might not put the factory in the US at all – according to a Norwegian newspaper yesterday, Musk has been in dialogue with Norwegians about establishing a Gigafactory there.
    That factory is probably a future one, serving European Model 3:s, but pissing of Elon Musk might backfire big time.

  3. CRASCH says:

    The point that is often lost by people criticizing the tax breaks is that the tax revenue doesn’t exist yet and won’t if Tesla doesn’t build the factory there. And we are talking about direct taxes to Tesla not all of the trickle down revenue from builders and employees.

  4. Angela Cobham says:

    Building a “gigafactory” that will manufacture lithium batteries is a dumb idea when lithium will be obsolete within a few years. Musk isn’t the genius so many think he is. He IS a good con artist though.

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