And not long before that, the financial services giant Charles Schwab said it would move its headquarters from San Francisco to the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs.
Since both of those companies already had significant workforces in Texas, though, those moves were in some ways also symbolic. But they’re also evidence that Texas’s longstanding economic strategy has continued to work.
Texas leaders have tried to woo companies and residents from the Golden State with promises of lower taxes, fewer regulations and eye-poppingly cheap housing — at least compared with California. In 2013, Rick Perry, then Texas’ governor, visited California and ran radio ads urging businesses to “flee” the coast. His successor, Gov. Greg Abbott, has eagerly picked up the mantle.
The state and its suburbs, in particular, have been among the nation’s fastest growing for years.
Of course, the growth in Texas has been propelled by the use of millions of dollars in tax breaks and incentives, an opaque, poorly regulated practice that has come under increasing scrutiny after the huge, public search by Amazon, based in Seattle, for a place to build a second headquarters. (Cities in the Dallas area competed fiercely, offering billions in incentives, while some in Los Angeles were actually relieved when the city was out of the running.)
[Read about why California’s population growth is the slowest it’s been in more than a century.]
And while Texas may represent a theoretically lower-tax, lower-regulation utopia for people like Mr. Musk, who fought pandemic restrictions, not everyone is about to pack up and move east.
“You will know that California has truly crossed a line when home prices start falling,” Christopher Thornberg, a founding partner of Beacon Economics, a consulting firm in Los Angeles, told me. As it is, he said, “there is more demand to live in California than to not live in California.”
Mr. Thornberg said he believed that California had made policy mistakes in responding to the pandemic that might negatively affect the state’s business climate. But, he added, remote workers who have the option to leave “are sure as hell not moving to Texas.”