In 2021, officials in Travis County, Texas, secretly gave Tesla $60 million in tax breaks to set up a factory in Austin. The vote to hand Tesla millions in tax breaks took place before the public could even weigh in.
Corporations like Tesla, run by the wealthiest man in the world, claim that the billions of dollars in tax breaks they received from cities and states every year are good for the public.
But in reality “corporate tax breaks do quite literally nothing for the local economy on any measure that we actually care about,” according to Pat Garofalo of American Economic Liberties Project. “They don’t create jobs, they don’t boost investment, they don’t boost income.”
Brigid Shea, one of the Travis County commissioners who voted to give Elon Musk millions of public dollars, is up for re-election March 1. Bob Libal is running to replace her.
“We are really at danger in our community of becoming a place that working in middle class, people can no longer afford to live,” Libal argues.
“The reality,” he says, “is that you simply can’t square an affordability policy with giving away millions of dollars in tax subsidies to the world’s richest people. We have to have a commissioner’s court.”