D.C. Tech Experts Question LivingSocial Tax Break | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

D.C. Tech Experts Question LivingSocial Tax Break

Play associated audio
LivingSocial is a tech headliner in D.C., but some wonder whether giving them a tax break was a good idea.
Elvert Barnes (http://www.flickr.com/photos/perspective/5952219647/)
LivingSocial is a tech headliner in D.C., but some wonder whether giving them a tax break was a good idea.

On Tuesday, the District voted to give LivingSocial a big tax break, and in doing so is keeping the successful daily deal company in town. Going to such lengths to favoring a single company has put D.C. at risk of sidelining many others in the local tech community.

Six months ago, Michael Goldstein founded Endeavor, a start-up that provides support to internet companies in D.C. He says giving a $32 million tax break to LivingSocial is unfair to other companies who also need similar incentives. "I think it's a very dangerous thing for the city to play favorites and give certain interests to certain types of companies and not to others," says Goldstein.

Goldstein says a better approach is to have broad incentives that benefit the entire tech community instead of giving special grants to single companies when they ask for them.

DC Fiscal Policy Institute's Ed Lazere says it's not just a matter of sidelining many other startups, but also making sure the city gets it's money's worth. "It would be better if we said to LivingSocial, 'You'll get your $32.5 million if you actually expand to 2,000 employees, as you say you will in the District.'"

He also says this kind of strategy for retaining an industry can create unreasonable demands.

"It does create an expectation among other companies that they can ask for a tax break too... really whether or not they need them."

While the tax break for LivingSocial was approved on Tuesday, a separate measure to allow tax incentives for other tech start-ups has been delayed until September.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Oct. 20

You can see a rock musical about a family dealing with mental illness. A local nonprofit celebrates its 20th anniversary with an artsy party.
NPR

Chef Ottolenghi Makes The Case For 'Plenty More' Vegetables

Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi talks with Rachel Martin about the difference between supermarket hummus and Middle Eastern hummus and why he doesn't like to call his cookbooks "vegetarian."
NPR

Turf Shifts In Culture Wars As Support For Gay Marriage Rises

Campaigning against gay marriage used to help Republicans win elections — but now GOP candidates in tight races are backing away from mentioning social issues on the stump.
NPR

Will Apple's Mobile Wallet Replace Your Leather Wallet?

Many have tried and failed with this kind of payment option before. But Apple's launch is bigger, with more financial institutions' support, and consumers may be more security-conscious.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.