Nevada says Tesla’s possible tax breaks stay secret, for now

In this October 13, 2018 file photo, a sign marks the entrance to the Tesla Gigafactory in Sparks, Nev.
AP photo

RENO — The details of potential tax breaks for Tesla’s $3.6 billion expansion of its Nevada factory will remain classified until the end of February under a non-disclosure agreement state officials signed with the electric-car maker.

The governor’s Office of Economic Development will approve the request for the tax break on Feb. 27, just three days before the office will vote on whether the proposed factory expansion qualifies for those tax breaks, spokesman Gregory Bortolin said. He said the non-disclosure agreement meant he couldn’t provide exact figures for potential tax breaks.

Tesla, led by billionaire CEO Elon Musk, intends to mass-produce semi-trucks in Nevada and produce enough cell batteries annually to power 2 million light trucks.

Announced last week, the project will expand an existing operation at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, approximately 20 miles east of Reno-Sparks along Interstate 80. The plan brings the company one step closer to fulfilling previously announced plans to increase production of all-electric Tesla Semi vehicles to produce 50,000 trucks in North America in 2024.

The company expects to bring 3,000 new jobs to northern Nevada, a key part of Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo’s early plans to diversify the state’s economy.

“Economic development is important,” Lombardo said after announcing the partnership in his State of the State address last week. “I am proud to announce that effective immediately, Nevada has reopened for business.”

The Nevada Current first reported on the possibility of the new tax breaks.

When Tesla announced its first $3.5 billion investment in northern Nevada in 2014, the company received about $1.25 billion over 20 years — one of the largest in the country at the time.

At a special legislative session this year, state legislators passed legislation that would trigger tax breaks for large development projects. Qualifying projects that generate $3.5 billion in investments over 10 years — like the Tesla expansion — could be eligible for multiple discounts.

According to the latest report from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Tesla has benefited from over $410 million in tax breaks since 2014.

Bortolin, the agency’s spokesman, said in a statement that he couldn’t comment on “what might happen in the future,” but emphasized that Tesla is investing $6.2 billion in Nevada and creating more than 11,000 jobs overall have.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Musk tweeted Tuesday that the company expects the factory to eventually be “almost entirely solar powered.”

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