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.

NPR

Single-Named Singers From The Present And Past

Every answer is the name of a famous, one-named singer like Madonna or Beyoncé. Identify each one from its anagram, to which one extra letter is added. The singers are a mix of past and present.
NPR

No Resume? Criminal Background? No Problem At This Yonkers Bakery

Social justice is part of the recipe at New York's Greyston Bakery. The firm, whose clients include Ben & Jerry's, hires locals whose legal status or work history might otherwise make them unhirable.
NPR

Senate Blocks Measures To Extend NSA Data Collection

The Senate worked late into the night but was not able to figure out what to do about expiring provisions in the Patriot Act that authorize the NSA's bulk collection of Americans' phone records.
NPR

The Future Of Cardiology Will Be Shown In 3-D

The Living Heart Project aims to create a detailed simulation of the human heart that doctors and engineers can use to test experimental treatments and interventions.

Leave a Comment

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