Tesla jobs CEO says he has sold ‘enough stock’ and slams California for ‘overtaxation’ and ‘overregulation’ and ‘overlitigation’
Elon Musk, the co-founder and CEO of Tesla, has spoken out about his recent stock sell-off and his decision to relocate away from California. Musk said he has sold “enough stock” to meet his plan to sell 10% of his shares in the world’s most valuable automotive jobs firm in an interview with satire website Babylon Bee on Tuesday.
Musk announced over the weekend that he will owe more than $11 billion in taxes this year, rebutting Democratic US Senator Elizabeth Warren’s claim that he was a freeloader.
Since early November, Musk has sold $14 billion worth of Tesla stock after polling Twitter users on whether he should sell 10% of his stake in the company. Musk then proceeded to sell tranches of stock in order to keep his Twitter pledge.
Musk sold another 583,611 shares on Tuesday, bringing his total number of shares sold to 13.5 million, or nearly 80% of what he expected to sell. “I sold enough stock to get to around 10% plus the option exercise stuff and I tried to be extremely literal here,” he said in the interview with Babylon Bee.
When questioned if he sold the shares because of the Twitter poll, he stated that “no matter what,” he needed to exercise stock options that expire next year. He also mentioned that he sold some “incremental stock” to reach close to 10%.
8.06 million of the 13.5 million shares sold were sold to cover taxes connected to his option exercise. Musk and one of the hosts were discussing staffing jobs and where Babylon Bee was based during the interview, and one of the hosts said that while the company was technically based in south Florida, he was working hard to get the rest of the staff to relocate there, but “it is hard to get these people out of California.”
Musk immediately quipped back. “That is despite the state of California doing everything it can to encourage people to leave,” and he joked that u-hual was doing great business in the US state. Musk was then asked if he missed California. “There are so many aspects I like about California that I do like,” Musk replied, stating that many of his friends are still based there.
“It is beautiful and lots of cool things but increasingly difficult to get things done,” Musk added. “California used to be the land of opportunity and now it is… becoming more so the land of sort of overregulation, overlitigation, overtaxation,” he said.
He pointed to the scorn he felt in the US state, with no thank you for the taxes he paid. “You don’t even get a thank you note,” he joked. Musk is the richest man in the world and in December 2020, he announced he had left California after he had sold his Bel Air homes.
Musk moved to Texas after living in Los Angeles for the previous 20 years. After constantly battling with Californian politicians last year, he followed through on his threat in October 2021 by relocating Tesla’s corporate headquarters to Texas.
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