Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown calls Nevada’s Tesla tax breaks ‘California’s benefit’

Less than 24 hours after Nevada lawmakers approved a package of tax incentives to persuade Tesla Motors Inc. to build a battery factory in that state, California Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been criticized for failing to get the factory, said Friday that “Nevada’s tax breaks are California’s benefit” if they put electric cars on California roads.

“I just hope they can make the batteries come down 30 percent, because the only way we can really meet our electric car goals (is) if the batteries are made cheaper,” Brown told reporters after speaking in San Francisco. “So whether they’re made in Reno or wherever, the real challenge is the investment capital and the technological prowess to get our batteries cheaper so ordinary people can buy electric cars.”

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a package of incentives Thursday night estimated at more than $1.2 billion to bring a $5 billion Tesla “gigafactory” and about 6,500 employees to Nevada.

Brown’s Republican opponent in the gubernatorial race, Neel Kashkari, has criticized Brown for failing to land the deal.

Brown said in a gubernatorial debate last week that his administration “fought hard for Tesla, but Tesla wanted a massive cash upfront payment that I don’t think would be fair to the taxpayers of California.”

The company’s moves have been closely watched in Sacramento. Tesla is based in Palo Alto and has a factory in Fremont.

“Nevada’s tax breaks are California’s benefit if we can get to our million electric cars,” Brown said. “And the cars come off the factory line right there in Fremont, and they’ll keep coming as long as that Nevada plant actually gets built and they can put out batteries significantly cheaper than they do today.”