Nestle’s decision to move hundreds of jobs out of California promises to fuel reflection among Bay Area business and civic leaders on the challenges of operating in California, with its high-priced housing and traffic congestion.
Tesla Motors Inc., as part of its bid to expand electric vehicle manufacturing facilities in California, on Tuesday is up for another sales-and-use tax exemption on nearly $1.2 billion of equipment and machinery. The California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority, a little-known arm of the state Treasurer’s Office, is scheduled to consider expanding a tax break Tesla already receives at its meeting in Sacramento. Agency officials put the value of financial assistance Tesla is requesting at $98.5 million for the total Model 3 project. Tesla used $14.8 million in state tax credits for the Model 3 through June 30. California officials estimate a net of $1.67 million in fiscal and environmental benefits to the state.
A maker of lithium batteries is promising to provide an economic jolt to the Appalachian region, announcing plans Friday to relocate from California to Kentucky and build a factory employing hundreds of workers in an area reeling from the coal industry's decline. EnerBlu Inc. announced it will invest $372 million and create 875 full-time jobs in eastern Kentucky with the production facility in Pikeville. The company also will move its headquarters from Riverside, California, bringing another $40 million investment and 110 administrative, research-and-development and executive jobs to Lexington, Kentucky's second-largest city.
In the waning hours of the legislative session, Democrats pushed through new labor requirements widely viewed as retaliation against Tesla, the electric car maker embroiled in a union-organizing campaign at its Fremont plant. Labor unions got lawmakers to insert two sentences into a cap-and-trade funding bill requiring automakers to be certified “as fair and responsible in the the treatment of their workers” before their customers can obtain up to $2,500 from California’s clean vehicle rebate program. At the time, Democrats openly wrestled with the concern that the United Automobile Workers, which is trying to maintain its role as the auto industry makes big bets on electric vehicles—was expanding its unionization campaign from the factory floor to the Senate floor. Sen. Steve Glazer of Orinda said the state should not “hold our environmental projects hostage to a fight with one progressive employer.” Sen. Connie Leyva of Chino countered that California shouldn’t want companies to succeed at the expense of workers.
Ford Motor Co. plans to produce a future electric car in Mexico rather than make it in the U.S., reversing plans announced in January to make its Flat Rock, Mich., assembly plant near Detroit its main electric-vehicle production site.