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Better to build roads for today than to subsidize Tesla for tomorrow

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By Harold Morgon

 Tesla Motors Inc. (teslamotors.com) is brilliant. The electric car manufacturer company says it will build a huge battery factory, a “gigafactory.” (Gotta love that word, “gigafactory.” Wonder where it came from?)
Tesla has simultaneously and publicly dangled the deal before five states — New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Nevada and California.
State economic developers have responded like kittens faced with a piece of yarn. The yarn comment, though a tad snarky, merely says that developers, who get paid to chase deals, are doing their jobs.
I admit to not paying huge attention to the Tesla proposal. This column focuses on the deep structural troubles affecting the entire state economy.
A report a few days ago, taken with last week’s column, adjusted that perspective. In what follows, for the sake of argument, assume an either/or situation, one choice or the other.
Tesla has finally said what it wants from the host state, basically10 percent off the top, according to an Aug. 3 Albuquerque Journal story. For a $5 billion project, that’s $500 million delivered via tax abatements, building infrastructure, job training funds, whatever, all for a gamble, a new, heavily subsidized technology.


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