Tesla shares fall after Musk Twitter poll

Tesla CEO asked social media users whether he should sell 10% of his shares in the company

Tesla stock plummeted in early trading on Monday after Twitter followers voted for its founder Elon Musk to sell 10% of his shares. 

Musk, the world's richest man and largest owner of Tesla stock, asked Twitter whether he should sell the stock on Saturday. 

"Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock," Musk said in a tweet on Saturday, adding that he would abide by his Twitter audience's decision. "Do you support this?" 

In the poll, 57.9% of respondents supported the sale. 

Tesla shares fell 5.9% in pre-hours trading from $1,221.79 to $1,148.96. However, they began picking up shortly after, rising 1.65% in the first 15 minutes of trading. 

The poll appears to reference the billionaire income tax, a proposal included to help pay for a Democrat spending bill. It would target those who had over $100 million of income in the last three years in a row or retain over $3 billion in assets. 

The tax would require those with tradable assets to pay taxes on investment gains. This would end a long-standard tax-deferral capability in which investors don't have to pay tax on their investment gains until they sell their shares. 

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The proposal’s author, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore), criticized the move in a tweet on Saturday. 

"Whether or not the world’s wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn’t depend on the results of a Twitter poll. It’s time for the Billionaires Income Tax," he said. 

Musk responded with a crude tweet criticizing Wyden's appearance. 

Musk has criticized the proposal in the past. On Oct 25 he responded to a tweet reproducing a letter template that US citizens opposed to the plan could send to their elected representatives. 

"Exactly. Eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you," he tweeted. 

This is not the first time Musk has generated controversy on Twitter. In September 2019 the SEC accused him of fraud over his Twitter claims of taking the company private. He later stepped down as chairman of the company. 

On Saturday, Congress passed a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill with Republican support. The Democratic party's next goal is to pass its larger social spending package.

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