Gavin’s Watch: Oracle Flees California. Watch Out, Texas

On the heels of news of Tesla’s Elon Musk and most of Hewlett-Packard Enterprises’ announcements that they are fleeing California and moving to Texas, another huge Silicon Valley tech firm has announced its moving to the Lone Star State. God help Texas.

Software maker Oracle announced on Friday that it’s moving its headquarters to Austin, Texas. CNBC reports that the move is due to the newfound flexibility that the COVID-19 shutdown has provided. And the tax cuts don’t hurt either, right?

“Oracle is implementing a more flexible employee work location policy and has changed its Corporate Headquarters from Redwood City, California to Austin, Texas. We believe these moves best position Oracle for growth and provide our personnel with more flexibility about where and how they work,” a spokesperson confirmed to CNBC.

Oracle set up shop in Silicon Valley in 1977.

Bloomberg reports that the shift to Texas began two years ago, pre-pandemic. The firm has more than 11,000 employees and there’s room for 10,000 of them in Austin.

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Oracle’s shift of resources away from California dates at least to 2018, led by Executive Chairman Larry Ellison and the late co-Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd. That year, Oracle opened a campus in Austin, featuring an on-site apartment building for employees, in an effort to recruit a younger and less costly workforce. The campus could eventually host 10,000 staffers, Oracle said at the time. The company also said last year that its largest annual conference, OpenWorld, [formerly OracleWorld] would depart its traditional home, San Francisco, in favor of Las Vegas.

CNBC reports that it’s no mere coincidence that Oracle followed Tesla’s footsteps.

Larry Ellison, Oracle’s co-founder and chairman, serves on Tesla’s board. Ellison has a longstanding friendship with Michael Dell, whose computer company was founded and remains headquartered in the Austin area.

Musk says he’ll keep major operations going in California.

Texas Governor Gregg Abbott says the companies moving to his state began as a trickle and has turned into a “tidal wave.”

“I have been on the phone on a weekly basis with CEOs across the country, and it’s not just California,” Abbott said on “Fast Money,” referencing his meeting last month with officials from the Nasdaq. “We’re working across the board because the times of Covid have exposed a lot. They’ve exposed … that you really don’t have to be in Manhattan, for example, in order to be involved in the trading business or the investment business. […] Cost of business means a lot. No income tax means a lot, but also the freedom to operate without the heavy hand of regulation means a lot,” he said.

“This has turned into an absolute tidal wave,” Abbott added, while noting many companies such as Oracle already had a presence in Texas before their official announcements. “They are looking for a state that gives them the independence, the autonomy and the freedom to chart their own course.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom and a supermajority of Democrats in the state legislature have presided over this mass exodus from The Golden State. Over-regulation, high taxes, impossible-to-own homes – even for six-figure families – are all parts of California’s – the Democrats’ – legacy.

No doubt, the Silicon Valley Democrats will be delighted with the prospects that the tidal wave to red-state Texas will become a blue wave in the Republic in upcoming elections.

God help Texas.

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