TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The possible construction of a Tesla factory in Travis County is projected to result in at least 5,000 new jobs and over $7 million in new tax revenue over 10 years — after an 80% tax rebate of $14.65 million — but there are also projected drawbacks.
On Friday, the Travis County Commissioner’s Court released the “Travis County Economic Development Performance Agreement,” which laid out the economic and tax revenue impact an electric vehicle manufacturing plant would generate.
A few of the benefits that Jon Hockenyos, who Travis County hired to analyze the data, found include:
- Job creation/unemployment relief — It’s estimated that the plant would create at least 5,000 middle-skill jobs and could possibly add over 4,000 new non-Tesla jobs due to secondary effects. Hockenyos says that the unemployment rate in Travis County “skyrocketed” from 2.2% to 12.4% in April 2020. He says when taking furloughs and reduced hours into consideration, the real unemployment rate is likely closer to 25%.
- Millions in tax revenue — The plant would be projected to create over $7 million in new tax revenue for Travis County over 10 years.
- Creation of a new energy “cluster development” — The analysis says that Tesla’s location could open the door for other industry companies and businesses to relocate — in addition to encouraging re-locations and expansions
A few drawbacks he outlined of the plant coming to Travis County include:
- Cost of influx of new residents — It’s projected that the plant would result in about 1,285 new residents, estimated to cost public services around $1.2 million over 10 years
According to the report, Hockenyos says the plant’s creation “results in a substantial benefit to the community and a net fiscal benefit to the County.”
Additionally, according to the agreement, the company would invest a minimum of 10% rebate value in local programs like Workforce Solutions, Austin Community College and Capital Metro. The agreement also says that the company would use re-claimed water from the City of Austin.
What is a “performance agreement”?
The agreement would be a legally enforceable contract between Tesla and its subsidiaries and Travis County.
Tesla would be held to the expectations laid out in the agreement, many of which are explained above, and it would be responsible for paying a county-hired independent compliance reviewer.
Tesla, owned by billionaire tech magnate Elon Musk, wants to put a Gigafactory at the intersection of State Highway 130 and Harold Green Road in Del Valle, on about 2,100 acres, according to a recent application the company filed. The plant would be between 4 and 5 million square feet.
A source close to Musk first confirmed the Austin area’s consideration for its next factory back in May.