Business + Economy
4:14 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Watchdog groups demand transparency on Tesla incentives

Credit Tesla Motors

Nevada and four other Western states are serious contenders for Tesla Motor’s $5 billion battery plant. This week, several watchdog groups issued a public letter asking all those states to tell taxpayers what they are offering to entice the electric carmaker, which is asking for about $500 million in tax breaks and incentives.

Bob Fulkerson is with one of the advocacy groups, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. He says the letter makes several demands of the state governments involved in negotiations with Tesla:

"To be transparent with information. To share information with each other. To stop a 'race to the bottom,' in terms of how much we can give away in order to lure the giant to our states."

Competition has been fierce because the Gigafactory could employ up to 6,500 people by 2020.

"I think the pressure on all the governors to land Tesla is enormous," Fulkerson says, "and I think that Nevada's economy being what it is, the pressure on our governor is even more significant."

Fulkerson says Nevada could end up paying more to attract the company than any real long-term economic gains it would reap.

Tesla announced last month that it broke ground on a site near Reno. The other states in the running are Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.

Calls to Tesla and the Governor's Office of Economic Development in Nevada were not immediately returned for this story.