What would you ask LivingSocial or DC officials?
Next week, Ken Archer will discuss the LivingSocial tax deal and ways DC can foster more of an innovative technology sector as part of a panel July 11 with LivingSocial's CFO, Lisa Mayr, and David Zipper, the DC official who spearheaded the tax break.
What questions would you like to ask? Moderator Peter Corbett has agreed to ask at least one of the best questions our readers suggest.
The panel is part of the monthly DC Tech Meetup. This month's it's at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, unsurprisingly located at 6th and I, NW. The panel will start around 8:10 on Wednesday, July 11; the meetup begins at 7 with demos by 10 area startups.
Ken has argued that DC should take action to encourage a hub of technology companies in DC, but the deal DC worked out with LivingSocial doesn't ensure that the money pays for what DC needs. DC would benefit from attracting more highly skilled software engineering workers, who might work for LivingSocial now, and could then start their own companies in the future or staff ones that others start.
The tax break pays LivingSocial for hiring employees who live in DC, but doesn't distinguish between actual jobs creating technology, which help DC in the long run, and jobs answering phones for customer service, which don't. It also still gets credit if it hires people only to replace others who leave, generating no net growth in jobs.
DCFPI has pointed out that LivingSocial could move its product development operation out of DC and not have to pay back its subsidy. It could sell to another company outside DC and move, and not repay the benefits it's gotten. Or it could earn the benefits in a few years, then stop following through on its promises, and pay nothing back.
More jobs outside of government are absolutely in DC's best interest, especially in the long run. The panelists will discuss the LivingSocial deal, and what the District can and should do in the future to build up a tech community—
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